Amanzimtoti’s Seshnie Naidu has been making waves in the cricket world, receiving calls-ups to the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, the SA under-19 Women, and SA Emerging teams, all before the age of 18.
This past weekend, Naidu attended the inaugural SA20 under-19 women’s camp at the CSA Centre of Excellence in Tshwane.
Her love for the game was born on the fields of Athlone Park Primary School through the KFC Mini-Cricket programme. It quickly became apparent, however, that her skill transcended gender norms, which resulted in her joining the school’s boys’ team.
“Growing up in Amanzimtoti and attending Athlone Park Primary, this is where my passion for cricket started. I started playing with the boys’ team and eventually was the first girl to captain the school’s first team,” she revealed.
Every step of the way along her cricket journey, she has enjoyed the unwavering backing of her family.
“I am the youngest of three siblings and I live with my parents. My parents have always been to every training session since primary school and continue to do so,” Naidu said, highlighting the remarkable support she enjoys.
A defining moment in her development came at the age of nine when, under the guidance of SA u19 and Women’s National Academy Head Coach Dinesha Devnarain, the prodigy’s bowling style was transformed.
Naidu explained: “When I was nine years’ old, Coach Dinesha changed my bowling action from pace to leg-spin. She informed me that I finished my action off as a leg-spinner. We had a discussion about this, and she started working with me.
“I was inspired by Dinesha’s coaching methods and the way she played,” Naidu said about the former Proteas’ all-rounder, whom she named as her cricketing inspiration.
After making her mark with KZN’s junior teams, in the KZN senior women’s team, and while playing club cricket for Chatsworth Sporting Club, Naidu was introduced into the CSA youth development pipeline before earning a call-up to the SA Emerging and SA u19 teams in 2022.
U19 Women’s T20 World Cup
The current J.R. Education Centre matriculant was subsequently named in South Africa’s squad for the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup, which was hosted by South Africa in January 2023. In her second World Cup match, Naidu claimed the best figures of two for 11 as the junior Proteas beat Scotland at Willowmoore Park.
Reflecting on the event, Naidu said: “I enjoyed the experience of playing against ladies from different countries and making new friends. I was kind of nervous at first after seeing the media presence and being on the international stage.
“Being part of the SA uU19s and SA Emerging has helped me grow as a cricketer, on and off the field. It has also made me mentally stronger when facing difficult situations. The coaches and the ladies have been supportive towards me throughout this journey.”
Representing the SA Emerging team in a 50-over game against New Zealand on their recent tour of South Africa was a further boost to her aspirations, Naidu said: “Playing against New Zealand inspired me to up my game, and I know I am ready for international cricket. Bowling 10 overs and having an economy of five, has inspired me even further.”
Since achieving her goal of wearing the Dolphins’ jersey at the age of 13, an honour she cherishes until today, Naidu has set her sights on becoming one of the world’s best players as she eyes a Proteas’ women’s shirt in the future. An invitation to recent senior camps with coach Hilton Moreeng‘s charges has been a source of inspiration.
“Being part of the Proteas’ training camp has been such an honour for me,” she said. “Meeting my hero Laura Wolvaardt was an incredible experience. I had so much to tell her, but I was lost for words when I saw her.
“All the ladies were incredible and very welcoming to the camp.
“My goal for the Dolphins and the Proteas is to be one of the best leg-spinners in the world. My batting is also good, and I just need to work a lot harder on going up the order.
“I’ve got my Dolphins’ shirt, and I can’t wait to don my Proteas’ shirt.”
Coach Devnarain said she remembers when she first set eyes on Naidu: “I was working for KZN Cricket at the time, as a Hub coach, and her dad brought her in for a session. She was actually a pace bowler and, after just having a couple of sessions with her, I made the suggestion that she should be a leg-spinner. That’s how we first started, and that was in 2015.
“The way she goes about her game and being a leg-spinner is very exciting. What she possesses that can help her play for the Proteas would be her natural ability to control her leg-spin at a young age. She definitely offers something with the bat, and she is quite agile in the field.
“She’s got a great character and a good head on her shoulders to make a go of it all the way, but based on her skill and what she offers, she is a fantastic prospect for the future.”