‘We’re used to being in our comfort zones, this is the complete opposite’ – Kapp on opening night nerves

Age, experience and expertise have done little to ease Marizanne Kapp‘s nerves ahead of the opening match in the Hundred.

Kapp, the 31-year-old veteran of nearly 200 international matches across formats and ranked as the world’s leading ODI allrounder, is part of a formidable three-pronged South African contingent who will turn out for Oval Invincibles against Manchester Originals in the first match of the tournament at the Kia Oval on Wednesday night.

“To be honest, I’m really, really nervous,” Kapp told ESPNcricinfo. “We had our first training match yesterday, it’s definitely something to get used to but once you understand it, it’s quite exciting.

“I’m usually someone who gets nervous but the quarantine adds to that because obviously now you didn’t really train cricket for two weeks and the uncertainty of the new format just makes you nervous because you want to do well.”

Of comfort to Kapp is the fact that she is joined by Shabnim Ismail, with whom she regularly opens the bowling for South Africa, and Dane van Niekerk, Kapp’s wife of three years who captains her country and will also lead Invincibles. But the road hasn’t been the easiest to this tournament, postponed since last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following their 4-1 ODI series victory in India in March, the South Africans returned home, then made their way to England via a two-week quarantine period in Croatia, which involved one week confined to their rooms. Another five days’ quarantine once in England whereby they could train but not mingle with their team-mates meant they had to play a practice game on Monday whilst keeping their distance and the first time they will have normal contact with the rest of the team will either be on the eve of the first match or the game day itself.

“I’m someone who, if I don’t hit 1000 balls or bowl 200 balls then I feel like I’m not prepared”

Marizanne Kapp

During that training match, Kapp found himself bowling at the death with her side behind on over rate and with the resultant penalty of having only three rather than four fielders outside the circle. Combined with having 20 fewer balls to play with, the format poses real conundrums for bowlers, said Kapp, who is also a seasoned franchise player, having featured in the KSL and played six WBBL seasons with Sydney Sixers before signing with Perth Scorchers for the next edition.

“It’s really challenging,” she said. “I told one of the coaches yesterday, my preparation is key and I felt so good leaving South Africa because I worked hard and then you go into quarantine and you lose a bit of rhythm.

“Now I’m stressed because you didn’t hit enough balls or you didn’t bowl enough balls and it’s a new format and Covid and the quarantines are a massive headache for me.

“They just kept on telling me, ‘look you’re so experienced, you’ve been playing so many years, you’ll be fine’. I’m someone who, if I don’t hit 1000 balls or bowl 200 balls then I feel like I’m not prepared but actually, I was decent yesterday, if I can say it that way.”


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