Moseline Daniels is living her Women’s Cricket World Cup dream in the shadow of others.
But for the South African left-arm seamer, born just prior to Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to freedom’ in her very city, that’s no major drama.
The fast-bowling fraternity are famed for craving centre-stage and Daniels’ brand of in-swing would make her an A-lister in most of the 2017 tournament squads.
Yet most don’t boast world number one Marizanne Kapp or the quickest female bowler on the planet Shabnim Ismail.
No matter though, as it seems Daniels is not a red-carpet kind of girl. A glimpse at history may tell us why.
Born in the shadow of greatness
She was born in Paarl – or The Paarl as the Afrikaners say of the city in the Western Cape – on 1 February 1990.
While Daniels slipped into the world relatively unheralded, just 10 days later the eyes of the world were on her city. Why? It was here Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster Correctional Centre (now known as Drakenstein Correctional Centre) ending 27 years of imprisonment.
A quirk of fate perhaps? But when you have been in the shadows of the father of modern South Africa, playing support cast to your mates is an honour not a chore; not to mention a source of inspiration.
“It’s good because I’m looking up to my senior players, who are number one and number two in the world or whatever they are,” she says of Kapp and Ismail.
“They are number one and number two in my opinion anyway. So, whenever people talk about them it is more inspiration for me to look up for them. They are great role models.
“They always motivate me and tell me to stick to my normal plans and don’t stress too much, we’ve got your back.”
Unheralded or not, Daniels was sporty from the get go. Yet, cricket was destined to be the first love from high school onwards. It was sport played on the streets and one which enabled her to simply be one of the lads.
“For me it was about playing along with boys because we played in the streets kind of thing,” she says.
“From that time on I started bowling with balls and I told ‘mummy I’m going to play cricket.’”
Inspirational coaches then drove her on through school to provincial level cricket with Western Province.
Daniels’ first international call-up came in an ODI against Sri Lanka in 2010. She became the 57th South African woman to receive such an honour.
Her return of 0-11 from three overs was very much bit-part. Her next call up 13 months later though was anything but, as she took 4-25 against the Netherlands.
Some 27 ODIs later they remain her best figures, suggesting it was an all-too brief moment of limelight.
Nevertheless, over those seven years Daniels has carved a niche as a frugal first change, complimenting the fieriest of new-ball pairings.
A Mental Approach to Rhythm
The miserly economy rate appears born of not only swing, but well directed full length; half volleys are rare commodities.
This in turn stems from a flowing rhythm in both approach and delivery, each stride in turn kissing the turf.
Such harmony brought her 2-21 in the opening win over Pakistan. It was another spotlight moment before Kapp and Ismail rose to the fore once more in the demolition of West Indies on Sunday.
A candid Daniels admits such rhythm can be elusive and for the feet to be right requires good head space too.
“The secret of rhythm for me is more mental than physical,” she says.
“Sometimes I just run in and it is mix up mix up. So, then I have to go back and cool myself because I’m stressing things are not working my way.
“Then I just take it cool and work in the nets step by step.”
Laughter the Best Antidote to Stress
As for the best medicine for staying cool, so keeping tension out and rhythm in. That’s easy apparently: laugh a lot.
Daniels has been heard several times on the World Cup trail so far laughing aloud. Even a slip in delivery stride from mentor Kapp didn’t escape the broad grin and belly laugh of her teammate.
“I like to laugh – that’s my hobby,” Daniels concludes.
“Cricket is about enjoyment. You have to enjoy the game to perform well and to get your success.
“For me I will always talk and laugh in the field to keep my teammates alive and alert.”
That capacity to laugh and perform will be tested in the coming days, not least by tomorrow’s clash with England at Bristol.
Paarl though translates from the Dutch as ‘The Pearl.’ Should Daniels keep taking the medicine of laughter then the resulting rhythm spells danger for opponents.
New-ball A-lister or not, Daniels may yet prove the Proteas’ ‘Pearl.’