On the eve of Sune Luus’ 27th birthday, let’s look at her life, career and achievements at large.
Sune Luus is not just a replacement captain who steps in when Dane van Niekerk is injured, but she is much more than that. Born and raised in Pretoria, she was encouraged to play the game when she was a toddler and at the age of four she had already started playing mini-cricket with her father and older brother. It was almost three years later, she joined the U-10 boys’ team at her primary school as a wicketkeeper who was also an all-rounder and could also bowl pace. She enjoyed playing school cricket thoroughly and in the same year also started playing club cricket.
It was owing to her phenomenal performances in the South Africa U19 set-up where she made her debut aged 13 that she even captained the U-19 team in the national championships and led them undefeated. Being a multifaceted sportsperson, she would also play tennis but eventually had to make a choice between tennis and cricket and ended up choosing the latter and has not looked back since.
Happy 27th Birthday to the South African all-rounder Sune Luus 🥳😍
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) January 5, 2023
In 2012, at the tender age of 16, she made her debut for the national team and it was under the influence of Jacques Rudolph, the South African cricketer that she decided to experiment with leg spin as well. Luus only attended school for roughly three months of her final academic year in 2014 because she was so busy playing cricket. She thought of considering pursuing teaching at the conclusion of that year, but she was unsure if she would have the time. Then, Luus learned that she could study for a Higher Certificate in Sports Science over two years rather than the normal year at a national team gathering at the High-Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria. Luus enrolled in that programme in 2015 with the aid of a scholarship from the South African Cricketers’ Association. She transferred to the University of South Africa to study communication science because the university was afterwards unable to set up the practical component of the course for her.
Now that the background of her life has been dwelt upon, let’s have a look at her career and accomplishments. In 2016, she scored 52 runs and took 6 wickets in a match against Ireland, joining Heather Knight as the first player to accomplish the feat in a women’s ODI. With 37 dismissals in 2016, she also matched Anisa Mohammed’s record for the most wickets in a single year in women’s ODI cricket. She and Chloe Tryon set the Women’s ODI record for the biggest sixth-wicket partnership in 2016 when they combined to mount 142 runs. She received the Women’s Cricketer of the Year award from Cricket South Africa in May 2017. Ahead of the 2018–19 season, Cricket South Africa issued national contracts to fourteen players in March 2018 and she was one among the players to have received it. She was included in South Africa’s squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies in October 2018 and was also included on the Brisbane Heat squad for the Women’s Big Bash League season of 2018–19 in November of that year. She was selected to play for the M van der Merwe XI in South Africa’s inaugural Women’s T20 Super League in September 2019.
She was included in South Africa’s squad in January 2020 for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. In the third ODI against New Zealand in January 2020, Luus made history by taking two six-wicket hauls, a first in Women’s ODIs. The three-match series was won by South Africa by a score of 3-0 thanks to her six wickets for 45 runs in ten overs and was also recognised as ‘The Player of the Series’. Luus was selected in 2020 for the 24-member South African team touring England. Luus became the tenth cricketer to achieve 1,000 runs and scalp 100 wickets in Women’s ODIs in January 2021 during South Africa’s series against Pakistan. She was chosen to lead South Africa at the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup in 2022 after the regular skipper Dane van Niekerk was forced to withdraw due to an ankle fracture. Luus also featured in her 100th Women’s ODI match on March 31, 2022, versus England in the semi-final.
She has also featured in seven games for the Tornadoes team at the 2022 Fair Break Invitational T20 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where her best performance was a 66* against the Barmy Army team and also scored match-winning runs in the finals. Luus was selected to lead South Africa for their one-off match against England Women in June 2022 and that also happened to be her first Test match. She was chosen to lead the South African team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and it was quite the forgettable campaign for them. She signed with Trinbago Knight Riders as an international player in August 2022 for the inaugural Women’s Caribbean Premier League and in the South African domestic games, she had a stellar run, scoring mountains of runs and will hope to carry the form on to international cricket. Although 2022 was not the pristine year for South Africa; 2023 is a chance to change it all and with an experienced player like her in the set-up, South Africa can hope for the best.
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.