Cricket: It's CD's summer of eking out wins

By Anendra Singh

Listening to Kelly Rangi during the interview makes me realise her self-evaluation can be edifying for teenagers who have aspirations of making it good in sport.

Needless to say, a lousy attitude and lack of commitment have been the catalyst for reducing many promising sportspeople to babbling dreamers.

Consequently Rangi's short but emotionally-fuelled life becomes a great snapshot of what youngsters, in hindsight, shouldn't do when opportunity comes knocking.

"I have a last chance to go somewhere with my cricket and that's if I still have a chance," the 20-year-old recalled Central Districts Hinds player from Napier said last night before they jet off this afternoon to Wellington for the beginning of the Action Sports domestic season against the Wellington Blaze.

The Rachel Priest-captained Hinds play a Twenty20 match at Karori Park tomorrow at 4pm before two limited-over (50 overs) matches at the same venue on Saturday and Sunday from 10am.

A solidly built batsman/wicketkeeper, the Morgan Financial Cornwall women's player had a hiatus from all cricket last summer after giving birth to baby Mya, now a year old.

"Before that I had my chances but my commitment and attitude wasn't there so my cricket went sliding down pretty fast," Rangi said after former White Ferns coach Gary Stead named her and fellow Cornwall cricketer Maneka Singh in his New Zealand Emerging Players Squad.

"Baby Mya has calmed me down and I now realise there's more to life than just cricket.

"Before that cricket was my No 1 sport but now I've really mellowed," said the Eastern Institute of Technology second-year social science student and "full-time mum".

Attempting to describe what she was like two summers ago, Rangi fails to find the words before settling for "... I'm not the same person now".

Batting around No 4-6 two summers ago, she averaged 9.14 with the bat with the highest score of 37 in 16 one-day innings and averaged 11 with a highest score of 18 from nine innings in T20s.

Pivotal in her comeback is the support from her sporting whanau with father Basil Rangi and elder brother Casey not only honing her cricket skills mentally and physically but also babysitting.

"After I had baby it became a matter of time management," she said, revealing work on batting techniques and blackboard sessions were useful in controlling the temperament of the game.

While typecast in the huge-hitting Jesse Ryder mould, Rangi prefers to see herself as someone who is going to be selective depending on how the game is evolving.

"One day I could be [Sachin] Tendulkar and on another Ryder so that's what I've been working on," she said, mindful if she could open then, she could bat at any number.

Developing mentally was equally as challenging as physical workouts with her brothers, she said, as she attempts to fine-tune her left-arm spin bowling.

CD coach Mike Shrimpton said: "She's keen to be successful so that's very commendable."

The former White Ferns World Cup-winning coach said Rangi had the ability to go further in the game if she stuck to her fitness regime after chalking up decent scores at club and Bay rep level despite disruptions from inclement weather and exam demands.

Priest, who is working in Wellington, was over her knee injury after physiotherapy.

"She's put aside the disappointments of missing out on the New Zealand side and concentrating on what she can control."

Esther Lanser, of Carterton, has opted to focus on her career after securing a full-time teaching job at a private school.

With White Fern Sara McGlashan in Christchurch with her job as national women's development officer with NZ Cricket, Sandee Hui a physiotherapist in Auckland and Irish international Eimear Richardson working in Wellington, Shrimpton said players again had to be self-sufficient in their preparations.

He said that last summer, despite losses, CD had conceded some close matches but younger players had grown from that experience.

Veteran Abby Burrows returns this summer after a shoulder operation last season.

White Fern Kate Broadmore, in Australia with the win-less Emerging team, will return to bolster the bowling stocks with Burrows, Singh, Hannah Rowe, Richardson, Hui, recalled Bay allrounder Sonya Thompson, Maree Heal and Kate Baxter.

Singh, 16, who like Priest didn't have to have surgery after picking up a knee injury soon after taking a two-wicket maiden against the England team's opening batsmen as a New Zealand Emerging player, also returns following some physio magic from Garry Sye, of Napier, after almost a seven-month lay-off.

A rash of youngsters, such as Bay's Holly Macdonald, Hester Nesbitt and Briar Cloak, is not in the mix but Bay schoolgirl Sarah Cowan is the bolter.

Shrimpton said the Iona College pupil had shown skills and, with experience, especially in the 50-over matches, could add to the depth of women's cricket.

Blaze coach Leigh Kelly said the hosts had trained mostly indoors and without their White Ferns - captain Sophie Devine, Sian Ruck (playing for ACT Meteors in Australia ) and spinner Lucy Doolan - who were involved with the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and the build-up to it.

Ex-CD rep and White Fern Liz Perry is studying in England but university exams mean she will join the side in round two.

"We have a fairly well-balanced side and we're developing ... but you can't beat experience," Kelly said in his second year in the role.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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