Lizelle Lee firm with her retirement decision; Weight Gain being an important issue.

Cricket

Lizelle Lee finally spoke about her decision of retirement from International cricket. The decision was made amidst in South Africa’s recently conducted tour to England. In an interview with the BBC’s Stumped podcast, Lee complained that, despite of being physically fit, Cricket South Africa (CSA) considered her weight and her appearance to declare her unfit to play.

She has been struggling with her weight issue since a long time. But CSA never came forward to support her overcoming the problem. In the interview, Lee said,

“I have never gotten any support from CSA with that. I mean they never asked me ‘what do you need? What can we do to help you lose weight?’ That’s something I’ve always done on my own.”

She added,

“At the end of the day it’s what you eat, I train, I do my gym sessions. I do everything I need to do training-wise, but I don’t know, I struggle with my weight. It’s been like that for I don’t know how many years. It’s tough because emotionally it’s breaking me down.”

Lizelle Lee admitted the fact of not meeting the fitness requirements which meant her not receiving a no-objection certificate (NOC) from CSA to represent in lucrative domestic leagues around the world.

After being drooped from the South Africa women team against England and being rejected to represent in overseas leagues, Lee took retirement as the best option. Lee alleged CSA for not making any effort to restrict her from retiring. Adding to that, there’s another player, who despite of passing the fitness test, but was granted an NOC by CSA. It happened just a week after Lee was turned down.

‘I don’t feel good about myself’: Lizelle Lee

Lee was asked to go through a fitness test before the team’s tour to England. All she required was to weigh herself and do a skinfold test. After following the instructions, she dispatched the results to the team doctor. Later that day, Lee consulted Ermelo, a biokineticist in her hometown, to conduct her skinfold test. But she denied to weigh herself again at the biokineticist. Lee informed Ermelo that she weighed herself back at her residence. In that interview she admitted,

“I’m not going to do it again because if it’s over [the limit] I won’t be eligible for the England tour.”

However, Lee was successfully overcame all the running fitness testing. When the board asked for an explanation, Lee informed that neither she has weighed herself, nor the biokenticist has confirmed it.

“I had this conversation with them in Ireland – because I got dropped in Ireland because of my weight as well. …. As a woman, that breaks me. It’s probably one of the toughest things to hear is that you’re not being able to play for a team because you weigh too much.”

However, Lee has been the International Cricket Council’s One Day International player of the year for 2021. Seeing such a player suffering due to weight issues is definitely disappointing for both herself and her fans. She added,

“I don’t feel good about myself, I don’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore because I don’t like the way I look.”

Finances

Lee could have played domestic cricket as well as other league crickets, if the Board had given her the NOC. This would have helped her to earn a large amount of money annually. Lee debuted in international cricket back in 2013, when only a few members of the SA national women’s team were granted contracts.

“We have done well over the past few years, especially with our [national] retainers, it has gone up… before that, there was no money, there was no contract. I made choices, I studied and after I studied there was [no contracts].”

However, Lee is a teacher by other profession. Apart from that, she has signed contracts in some Leagues, like the Manchester Originals in the Hundred. It is an English franchise competition whose second season is all set to start in August. She’s also signed deals with BBL’S the Hobart Hurricanes.

The 30 years old Proteas is firm with her retirement decision. She said, “At the moment, as things stand, no. I do think management needs to be changed, a few people need to change. There needs to be fairness across the board and I don’t think that will change overnight.” Lee took retirement as South Africa’s highest run scorer in international T20s and the second-highest run scorer in ODIs.

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