Meet Sune Luus who is a member of Momentum Protea, the national women’s cricket team. Sune started playing cricket when she was four years old. Since then her love for the game has grown more and more every day. She made her debut for SA at the age of 16, and her professional career started at 17 when she became a permanent member of the SA Proteas women’s squad.
As a teenager and professional cricketer Sune had to balance school work, friends and her cricketing life, which was never an easy task. Sune knew what she wanted to achieve in her cricketing career. She had goals and made sure nothing came in the way of that. Sune has had to make a few sacrifices in her life, but until now, she has never regretted one decision. Besides her cricketing career Sune is also studying for a Sports Science and Education degree from the University of Pretoria.
Cricket isn’t a full-time sport, so when are your competition seasons?
The cricket season starts in August/September and runs until the following year March.
What do you do during your ‘off’ seasons?
It is important to maintain fitness during the off season. My off season contains a gym training programme and ongoing cricketing skills training. Other than that, I catch up with friends, go on holiday with my family and do fun stuff that I don’t usually have time for during our in season. Off season is a good time to also make sure I keep up (and catch up, if necessary) with my studies.
What does the career of a Momentum Protea cricket player entail?
As a Momentum Protea you have to have the discipline to follow your training programme. We are professional athletes and as with the male Proteas, we put in as much training to be as fit and competitive as they are. Also, you have to maintain individualised fitness requirements that are set for you, as well as manage yourself in terms of your own life and things outside of cricket, for example I am studying, so I have to study and make sure I pass and plan for when I am away on tour.
What are some of the personality attributes required to remain on top of your game?
- Staying positive.
- Believing in yourself as well as your teammates.
- Having ambition and passion.
What are some of the huge no-nos?
- Staying out late before a game, whether it is a provincial or a national game.
- Being lazy and skipping your training.
- Not having ambition or passion for the game.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Our tour against Pakistan in March (2015), where I got my first five-wicket haul and was announced player of the ODI series.
Where could you find yourself in this career?
In the long run you can become a contracted cricketer (contracted by Cricket South Africa) or get invited to play in different countries’ club cricket. Obviously playing for the national team is the pinnacle and a great honour, but I’d also like to be in the first SA cricket team that wins and brings home an ICC World Cup.
How did you become part of the Momentum Protea women’s cricket team?
As a youngster I was always invited to the SA camps to help out with fielding or carrying water. And from there the coaches started to recognise my potential and so I became a regular at the camps.
Is this a very stressful career?
When it’s selection and game time, yes. For some people stress can affect you and your game negatively, but I like stressful situations. I like to think it brings out the best in me.
Are there any ‘glamorous’ aspects to this career?
- You get to travel the world.
- You meet a lot of famous and inspirational people.
- You get invited to elegant functions, like the annual Cricket South Africa Awards, where you can dress up.
What is the best way to get a foot in the door?
In life, it is often about who you know and your people skills. But with sport, everything is based on your performance. If you perform well and with consistency your results will stand out, and then there is no way scouts can ignore you. And of course that takes a little talent but also a lot of hard work, training, practice and dedication.
What can I expect to earn?
Professional women’s cricket is still in its infancy around the world. Strides are being made to professionalise women’s cricket and thanks to Momentum’s sponsorship, we were recently offered contracts with Cricket South Africa. The inclusion of all the ladies on our national team is a step in the right direction and great for supporting women’s sport in South Africa.
Who supplies all the gear that you need?
I am privileged enough to have a sponsorship with SS Equipment that provides me with all the cricketing kit I need. Being in the sun all day is dangerous for your health and eyes, and therefore I have a sponsor with Nike Vision for playing and casual eyewear.
What is the market like in terms of jobs and competition?
Making the national team is a huge privilege. Out of all the ladies in SA there can only be 11 Momentum Proteas (plus a few reserves). Obviously competition is stiff so that always motivates me to work harder and to always put in maximum effort. Hopefully we are suitable role models to inspire up-and-coming players so that one day when our professional careers are over there will be plenty of talented young ladies ready for national call-up.
Any tips for teens who may want to pursue a similar type of career?
Always make sure you have set goals for yourself, and never let anyone or anything come in the way of them. Make sure you focus on education as well, because you never know when something like an injury may appear and ruin your cricket career. Also being a professional athlete has a limited time frame, so best to have a career plan in place for after you retire. All in all, just believe in yourself and always have a positive mindset about everything you take on.