It’s been a roller-coaster ride the past couple of months for South African all-rounder Marizanne Kapp, both personally and professionally. She was among the seniors in the Proteas women team that were hosting the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup for the first time but without her partner and former captain Dane van Niekerk by her side.

South Africa reached the final before falling short against Australia. And Kapp then moved to another big assignment, the inaugural Women’s Premier League in India. Throughout the league, there was speculation around van Niekerk’s retirement after it was hinted by Kapp on social media.

But it was a true test of character for Kapp during one of Delhi Capitals’ matches when that announcement became official. Kapp picked up a five-for against Mumbai Indians. Throughout the tournament, she played an instrumental role in the team’s campaign that also reached the final.

Through it all, Kapp has been producing performances to remember – for South Africa and Delhi Capitals – and now finds herself at the FairBreak Invitational 2023 where she is playing for the Falcons.

Keeping this topsy-turvy journey rather lowkey, Kapp spoke about the last couple of months.

“It’s been good, it’s been challenging and busy as well. But I am happy that I can be here at the FairBreak and hopefully, improve women’s cricket,” Kapp told Scroll.

The partners were seen making appearances at each other’s games at the WPL and although the tournament did not give fans the opportunity for a Kapp vs Niekerk encounter there, it happened at FairBreak Invitational when Falcons faced Tornadoes at Kowloono. Kapp got the better of the former South African captain, dismissing her for a two-ball duck.

Talking about the moment, Kapp said, “The wicket was really tough to bat on, it rained quite a bit that morning and then because of the extra pace on it, it becomes very difficult. So I felt very sorry for them and told them that I would definitely not like facing myself on that wicket.”

Last year too, Kapp was part of the tournament that was staged in Dubai and spoke about her excitement around the opportunity, the diversity of talent among teams and what events like these mean for the women’s cricket landscape.

Talking about the difference she sees in the past year, Kapp said: “You can immediately see the improvement, especially when it comes to the associate players from last year to this year. There’s a massive improvement in some of them. A look at Mahika Gaur, the 17-year-old fast-bowler from UAE, for instance. There’s a few of them, not gonna lie. Especially the younger ones, they really stand out but yeah, I’ll pick her as my standout and she can have an impact on women’s cricket in the future.”

‘The fire that she has...’: The many sides of Marizanne Kapp, through the eyes of Dane van Niekerk

This time around, Kapp finds an even more diverse dressing room with the Suzie Batez-led Falcons. From Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu to England’s Danni Wyatt and from UAE’s Teertha Sathish to Bhutan’s Anju Gurung, the diversity in representation is indeed a standout aspect of the tournament.

“In our previous game, they mentioned that our team actually had eleven players from eleven different countries, all in the same team,” she said. “I would have never thought that cricket teams, moreover women’s cricket teams, could have that someday. We just have a wonderful group of players... everyone really gets along. There are a few shy girls in the team, of course but we have a nice group and nice owners.”

She added: “A lot of people will say things like that the standard of cricket is not up there but I mean if you look at where the Women’s Big Bash League and all were when they started, it never started as amazing as it is now. They all start somewhere and it each year, it improves and like I said, something that really stands out for me this year is the improvement of associate players. If it continues at this rate, it really is going to up women’s cricket in general.”

Fairbreak Invitational is streamed on FanCode and broadcast on Sony Sports Network in India.