Quiet Lee lets her bat do the talking
Fresh off her second WBBL century, Lizelle Lee is part of the exciting cohort of South Africans bringing their bold brand of cricket Down Under
7 November 2019, 04:44 PM AEST
The way Lizelle Lee approaches her cricket, you would expect the Melbourne Stars opener to be a loud, brash sort of character.
The softly spoken, unassuming South African is anything but; but her batting manta does speak volumes about the entertainment she can – and regularly does – provide with willow in hand.
See ball, hit ball.
The Big Weekend is Adelaide bound this weekend! You'll also be able to catch some cricket in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Launceston. More info: https://t.co/EcMXCrTTOH #WBBL05 pic.twitter.com/L29v0Ffhln— Rebel Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) November 6, 2019
For a second consecutive Rebel WBBL season, Lee posted the first hundred of the tournament when she blazed her way to an unbeaten 103 from just 65 deliveries at the WACA Ground last Saturday afternoon.
It was her second Big Bash ton, following the 102 not out she struck against the star-studded Sydney Sixers attack in the opening weekend of WBBL|04 at Junction Oval last December.
She cleared the fence three times in her explosive knock, pummeling the Scorchers attack all over the same Perth venue where South Africa will begin their T20 World Cup campaign against England next February.
Lee isn’t one to die wondering in the middle – unsurprisingly, her hero is Lance Klusener – but matching that firepower with consistency is one of her major goals for WBBL|05.
"I try to keep (batting) as simple as possible," Lee told cricket.com.au.
"I have this philosophy of see ball, hit ball.
"I just try to keep things as simple as possible and try not to complicate it for myself … but I’m also trying to keep my performances consistent, so if I can do that, it’s a win for me."
Off the field, the 27-year-old is more of the retiring type, a quiet personality who prefers a night in.
She’s studied for a teaching degree to prepare herself for her post-cricketing days, although that time may still be some way off, given that between her South Africa commitments she’s become a Big Bash regular and has also signed on with the Manchester Originals for the inaugural season of the Hundred in the United Kingdom.
Lee is one of six South Africans in this edition of the Big Bash, joined by Stars teammate Mignon du Preez, Sixers pair Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk, Thunder quick Shabnim Ismail and Hurricanes big-hitter Chloe Tryon.
"It’s fun (playing against Proteas teammates) but sometimes it can get a little bit competitive as well," Lee said.
"We always follow each other (in the competition) and want each other to do well."
If there’s one thing Lee and her fellow South Africans have in common, it’s the way they approach their cricket: with serious intensity.
Whether it’s Lee or Tryon trying to outdo each other with their long bombs, or Kapp and Ismail staring down batters after each fiery delivery, these Proteas do not hold back.
"(That’s) definitely Kappy when she’s bowling, she and Dane (van Niekerk) are some of the more aggressive on-field people you’ve seen.
"We call Ismail our little pocket power, she’s so small but she can bowl (fast) and bounce the ball.
"We definitely try and approach our games as intensely a possible."
Time spend in Australian conditions through WBBL|05 could serve the Proteas well come the T20 World Cup next February and March, as they look to improve after a disappointing campaign in the 2018 tournament, which saw them miss the semi-finals.
That result came after South Africa only narrowly missed out on a place in the 2017 One-Day World Cup final, but Lee doesn’t believe her team has gone backwards since that breakout tournament in England.
"Definitely not," Lee said. "We really hope to (win it) next year, we’re going in to win the World Cup.
"(In the past) we’d go in to try and win whatever games we can, but now our aim is to go in and win (the tournament).
"Our bowlers have been doing really well for us, so if our batting department starts firing, I think we’ll be a force to reckoned with."