The South African all-rounder's early days were tough, but she's made the process easier for youngsters with killer handshakes and good conversation.
Chloe Tryon’s philosophy in life is a smart one. She hates people taking photos of her and posting them on Instagram, so she makes sure she gets there first, and gets the really great selfies in.
Her having a fabulous hair day (be jealous of how many of those she has). Her being pensive. Her hanging out with team-mate Moseline Daniels, who’s like a big sister to her. Her irritated because her four-year-old niece has made her wait in the car outside the school.
She’s happy to take you through the various aspects of her life. Her adorable niece; her father, who was her first coach, and the paragraphs of analysis he sends the self-confessed ‘daddy’s girl’; her mum, the cricket fanatic; the newest motivational quote that’s driving her; the tear-jerker she last watched.
You soon learn that Tryon, South Africa’s vice-captain, all-rounder, expert photo-bomber and 50 per cent partner in the best handshake ever, is the kind of person it takes to make a cricket team feel like home.
Tryon knows better than many others how hard international cricket ICC World Twenty20 2010 game against Windies – incidentally the match where Deandra Dottin made her 38-ball hundred – and all the nervous 15-year-old wanted to do was just pitch the ball. A wicket first ball was something to remember, but in all, the early days were difficult. She had to toughen up quickly, learning a lot sooner than expected.
She wants to make that process smoother for the youngsters coming in. “It’s about being hard on them and also knowing when and when not to do it,” she explains. “They look up to us, we want to be setting good examples for them. I like to give them a bit of a laugh, mess around with them, make them do unnecessary things! But also sometimes, we’ll have breakfast with together, have a chat, I’ll just ask her how she feels….
“I like to bring a good vibe into the team, with music and stuff, getting the girls going. I feel like they feed off me a lot. I like to bring that to the team.”
The sentiment is reflective of Tryon’s new responsibilities in the team. She took on a leadership role in Dane van Niekerk’s absence in the recent quadrangular at home. In the batting line-up too, she seeks to take the game deep. If South Africa is to go far in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, and it has high expectations of doing so, it need not only more like the 39-ball 77 she smashed against India in that quadrangular, but also more smartly constructed innings.
Nobody other than her team-mate Lizelle Lee has hit has many sixes as Tryon (26) in the period between the two ICC World Cups. But now, Tryon has been working to make sure the big-hitting isn’t one-dimensional – and maybe go on to get her maiden hundred and a place in one of the T20 leagues.
“I felt like I used to be very – not hot-headed but very -- overwhelmed with the situation and I felt like I put myself in a stuck situation, but now I can read the game,” she says. Speaking to a psychologist has helped her game mature. “I’ve calmed down a lot. I feel like I know when to play my shots and when not to. It’s a lot of responsibility batting in that middle period, especially coming into the game and being able to set up the game, but it’s been good so far.”
Incredibly, if she had listened to her doctor, she may not have been in cricket today.
During the 2014 India tour, Tryon played through a lot of pain. She made a brave 50 to set up a win, and followed it up with a 49 not out, but she didn’t realise the constant tingling sensation and lower back pain was a slip disc. It was early the following year, only after the holidays, that she got a chance to have it checked out. “They said, ‘Why’re you even walking around?’ It took a whole year. My doctor told me, you should just give up cricket. I went to my dad crying, saying this is my dream – I can’t just give this up. And three years later, here I am. Still going strong!”
Tryon – or Aunty Koko to her niece – has bought the young girl a toy cricket kit of her own. It’s early days yet for the kid, but she will soon learn from her aunt what so many others have: in cricket and otherwise, it’s important to play hard, work hard and look out for other people. The reasons are many to want Chloe Tryon in your side.