CSA: SA U19 sensation Seshnie Naidu – Leg-spinning her way to a bright future

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Photo Credit: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Cricket South Africa

Growing up in the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, south of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, a young leg-spinning talent by the name of Seshnie Naidu rose through the ranks of junior cricket before going on to represent the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, SA U19 Women and SA Emerging teams, all before her 18th birthday.

Naidu was also announced as part of the 26-player squad attending the inaugural SA20 U19 Women’s Camp being held at the CSA Centre of Excellence in Tshwane between 02 – 05 November. 

With an adoration ignited on the fields of Athlone Park Primary School, Naidu’s first steps into the world of cricket were taken in the KFC Mini-Cricket programme. Her skill transcended gender norms and she joined the school’s boys’ team before making history at the institution. All of this, possible through the unwavering support of her family, in particular, her parents. 

“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.

“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 commented. 

A defining moment in Naidu’s young career 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 Women all-rounder when asked to name her cricketing inspiration.

After being identified from her time with the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union junior teams, the senior provincial team and while playing club cricket for the 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. 

The current J.R. Education Center matriculant was subsequently named in South Africa’s squad for the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup held on home soil in January 2023. In her second World Cup match, Naidu picked up the best figures of two for 11 as the junior Proteas beat Scotland at Willowmoore Park. 

“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 U19s and 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,”  she added. 

On her involvement with the Emerging squad in a once-off 50-over warm-up match in Benoni against New Zealand during their recent tour to South Africa, Naidu expressed; “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’s next objective is to become one of the world’s best as she eyes a Proteas Women shirt in the future. This is especially true after getting a taste of senior the national set-up after being invited to recent camps with Hilton Moreeng’s charges. 

“Being part of the Proteas training camp has been such an honour for me. 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. 

Speaking about Naidu’s exceptional abilities and the pair’s first encounter, Coach Devnarain commented: 

“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,”

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