Sterre Kalis is primed to make a flying start to the season with the Northern Diamonds - after all, she has been doing quite a bit of it lately.
The Dutch international batter is one of the newly contracted players at Headingley for 2022, meaning her commitments in navy blue are all year round.
Kalis is still based in the Netherlands, but since January has been commuting to Leeds on a Monday to spend the week training with Dani Hazell’s squad, returning home on Fridays.
It has formed part of a busy winter for the 22-year-old, who toured Zimbabwe through November for the Covid-curtailed women’s 50-over World Cup qualifiers with her country.
The right-hander posted scores of seven, 68 and 47 in a trio of defeats against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ireland before the event was cancelled amidst the discovery of the Omicron variant.
Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies earned qualification through rankings for a competition which started in New Zealand this weekend just gone.
“We went out there early for preparation and then a few practice games as well, and it was a really good experience,” said Kalis.
“It was just unfortunate that the new variant forced them to call it off.
“We had to get a private transfer back home, and it took us something like 43 hours. We went from Zimbabwe to Namibia to Oman to Dubai to Amsterdam. And then I got Covid when I got home!
“I was indoors for pretty much the week before Christmas.
“But it was good to be back with my family over Christmas before starting back with the Diamonds in January.”
For Kalis and her team-mates, that is when the intensity of pre-season training increased.
“We are doing all kinds of things with training,” she continued. “It can be boxing, running and yoga all mixed in with the cricket. We’ve also been using the marquee which is down at Weetwood.
“To be able to train on grass in February has been amazing. The pitches are a bit soft and slow, but we have loved it.”
The Diamonds’ social media channels have been showing videos of their varied training, including boxing classes.
“We say it’s boxing, but it’s pretty much fitness with gloves on,” laughs Kalis, who confirmed that she hasn’t yet knocked anyone out. “It’s intense, but fun. We all love it.”
Kalis is only too happy to put in the hard yards ahead of the summer.
She is fulfilling her dream to become a full-time pro and is hoping to build on last summer when she scored 373 runs in 17 appearances and was named the Diamonds’ batter of the year and fans’ player of the year.
“I’m loving it,” she said. “Since, I’ve been a professional, my game has progressed a lot. The coaches I train with are great with me, and all the girls as well.
“The travelling is no issue for me.
“It’s only a 50-minute flight back home, and I can be home even quicker than some of the girls driving back. Door to door, it’s only two and half hours.
“I like going home because it’s good to take your mind away from cricket for a few days, and it keeps me refreshed.
“Hopefully I can have another good season and we can win a trophy or two. Everyone has been working really hard, and we all can’t wait to get started.”
The Diamonds begin their season with a Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 clash against Lightning at Loughborough on Saturday May 14.