Sterre Kalis is relishing the prospect of facing some of the world’s best when she lines up for the Netherlands in the one-day World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe later this month.
The newly contracted Northern Diamonds batter will be the linchpin of the Dutch batting line-up hoping to pull off a shock and qualify for the World Cup in New Zealand early next year.
Ten teams will take part in the race for three qualifying places, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
Sri Lanka and the West Indies are in the same group as Kalis and company, as are Ireland and Papua New Guinea.
The Dutch squad fly out to Zimbabwe on Sunday ahead of the competition which runs from November 21 to December 5.
“We play against the likes of West Indies and Sri Lanka, and hopefully I can step up there and score some big runs against big teams,” said the 22-year-old right-hander.
Kalis is yet to make her one-day international debut, but she is her country’s record run-scorer in T20Is with 556 from 17 appearances.
That includes a high score of 126 not out against Germany in 2019, which is the joint fourth highest score in all T20 internationals alongside Australia captain Meg Lanning.
Kalis has also been the leading run-scorer for the Diamonds in each of two 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaigns (197 in 2020 and 290 in 2021).
“I am the one with a lot of experience, and they expect performances from me. That is fair enough. Hopefully I can meet those expectations,” she continued.
“For me, it’s going to be a really good tournament to go and learn a lot from.
“I want to be able to get my team over the line. It’s a big responsibility, but we’ll see. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.
“It’s going to be a good learning tournament for us.
“We don’t really have that much expectation on us.
“We just want to be there and play our best cricket and see where it goes. Hopefully we can win some games.”
Kalis believes her 50-over game is ahead of her T20 game at present.
“100 percent,” she continued. “But hopefully I can put a lot of time and energy into my T20 game to try and get that to the same level as my one-day game. That’s something I really want to do.
“There are still plenty of things I can improve. I’m only 22-years-old. There’s always room for improvement.
“I’ve spoken to the coaches about what I can work on this winter. I want to open up more areas of the ground to become a 360 degrees player.
“I think I had a good season (with the Diamonds). Obviously I want to be better and better, and hopefully next season I can score more runs.
“My goal for next season is to turn the starts I make, the thirties and forties, into eighties, nineties and hundreds.”
If things go swimmingly, Kalis will not spend much time at Emerald Headingley this winter, instead concentrating on advancing the Dutch cause and maybe facing Diamonds team-mates Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver and Lauren Winfield-Hill in February and March.
“The qualifiers finish at the start of December, and then I think I will fly over to England for maybe two or three days before Christmas,” she said.
“Then, we all have a break before I’ll focus more on the Diamonds and fly back and forwards quite a bit from January onwards if we don’t qualify.
“I’m not really sure exactly how it will work, but that’s what I would expect to happen.
“During the summer, or from close to it, I will stay in England all the way through like I did this season.”
Needless to say really, but Kalis is delighted to have earned a pro deal with the Diamonds.
“When they told me they wanted to offer me a contract, I was so excited,” she said. “All I’ve wanted to do is focus full-time on my cricket, and the Diamonds have given me that opportunity. I can’t wait to get going.
“I’ve played a high standard of cricket in Australia in the past, but the most progress I’ve made has been in the last 18 months.
“The training with the Diamonds has been so good.
“I’ve learnt in every single training session. I ask loads of questions of the coaching staff to try and get better.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot. By focusing on it full-time now, I feel like I can improve even more and take my game to a higher level.”
Kalis, who is confident of claiming silverware with the Diamonds in 2022, has also placed on record her thanks to players, coaches and backroom staff for making Emerald Headingley feel like a second home.
She added: “Everyone has been really good to me, and I’m speaking to the girls pretty much daily now as well.
“The Diamonds actually feels like home for me now, and the girls are amongst some of my closest friends.
“When you go to a new country and city, it’s really important to be able to settle, which is what I have done. And if you feel good, the more chance you have of playing good.”