Trisha Chetty hopes to carve out a legacy
The first seven catches Trisha Chetty took as a cricketer are not accounted for in her record 134 dismissals - the most by any wicketkeeper in the women's ODI game - because they came when she was just a child. In her first mini-cricket match, Chetty was given the gloves even though she hadn't kept too much in backyard games with her uncles. She drew on inspiration from an idol and stunned everyone, including herself.
"I used to love the way Jonty [Rhodes] dived and moved around in the field. And then I got asked to be keeper when I played my first match," she says. "Then I took seven catches and I decided to try hardball cricket. I just did pretty well and continued."
Chetty followed a fairly regular route through the ranks, from junior cricket to provincial cricket and the national team. She made her international debut as an 18-year-old and batted at No. 6 in that match. Less than 18 months later, she moved to the top of the order, in a one-off match against Ireland. That's where she stayed until recently.
Unlike modern wicketkeepers who consider themselves batsmen who can keep, Chetty sees herself primarily as a wicketkeeper. It has helped that she's had one of the best in the world to look up to. "I loved Mark Boucher's style," Chetty says. "I wanted to be just like him. Just everything about the way he did things and his rhythm in keeping."
Boucher was alert and athletic, a made keeper rather than a born one. As he improved, he became more instinctive. Chetty was similar, but as her game grew, she began to look at cricketers like Sarah Taylor and Alyssa Healy for inspiration because "they had similar games to mine".
Chetty remembers her better catches coming later in her career. The best, she says, was in March last year, against West Indies. Shabnim Ismail had already sent back two of West Indies' top three and was moving the ball dangerously at Kingsmead. She produced an outside edge off Kycia Knight off the third delivery of her fourth over, with Chetty diving to complete the catch.
Despite the progress she has made as a keeper, Chetty knows she will also be judged on runs, because "you can't just be a wicketkeeper in this game". But with an average of 31.48 and no hundreds, Chetty has not excelled in that department as much as she would have liked.
After a three-month period out of the team for disciplinary reasons that led to a suspension in July 2014, Chetty was pushed down to No. 3 upon her return. It seemed a decent move: she made two half-centuries in her first three games, but runs have been a struggle since because she is "still getting used" to batting there.
More specifically, she is trying to familiarise herself with building on a good start, rather than trying to create one. That means being able to pick up from where the openers leave, which has largely been the case at this World Cup.
South Africa's top two have done better than any other team, with an average of 66.00 at this tournament. They have also managed the second fastest run rate among all opening pairs. The rest of the line-up hasn't been able to keep up. From Chetty down, they tend to get stuck, leading to panic and subsequently more mistakes, like run-outs.
Chetty is one of only three players who have been dismissed that way twice in the tournament. It's something she intends to put right. "I think it's that we want to push on. We spoke about turning the ones into twos. I am pushing for those twos and don't realise when and how I get run out," she laughs. "There's been some miscommunication between a few of us, so we need to work on our communication skills."
The other thing she would like to set straight is South Africa's major-tournament record. Chetty has played in two previous World Cups, in 2009 and 2013, and South Africa did not reached the knockout stage in either. She has also played in five World T20s, of which South Africa have got to one semi-final, in 2014, where they lost to England. She hopes they can script a different ending this time.
"Through all these tournaments, we've tried. I have played in lot of World Cups and we couldn't even make it past the first round. This World Cup is very important because we have a strong side,"she says. "We've trained hard and we've prepared hard and we deserve a win. I think this is the best Proteas side I have played with. Skills-wise and execution - it's at a higher standard than the others."
It's well timed that the South African side are reaching their peak as Chetty's career reaches its own. At 29, she is one of the seniormost members of the side and her best years are ahead of her, in a professional era. In the time left, she wants continue playing and to build on a wicketkeeping record she hopes will prove difficult for anyone to overhaul, apart from coaching.
"I want to be the best wicketkeeper in the world, but my record is a bit low. I want to leave a legacy where it's going to be a challenge for other girls to break it. I am not done. I would love to get further."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent