It runs in the family
Her love affair with cricket started as a young girl when the SABC would cut the transmission of cartoons to broadcast the cricket. “My grandpa explained the game to me and from then on I was enthralled,” she recalls.
Born in Brakpan, Madri made Potchefstroom her home after matriculating, first completing her BCom in labour relations, followed by an honours in human resources.
Her daughter Marli is in grade 11 at Potchefstroom Gymnasium, where she is a cricket player, qualified umpire and scorekeeper, sharing her mother’s passions.
Cricket is a numbers game. It is a game of statistics, of batting and bowling averages. It is, in short, about keeping score and being number one.
For decades, Madri van Staden has lived and breathed the contest between bat and ball, first from her vantage point as a scorekeeper for the likes of the NWU’s first team and then from behind the stumps as umpire.
Madri’s turn to score
Her umpiring is what has caught the attention of cricket lovers. In July this year, Madri was named the first-ever female Umpire of the Year of North-West Cricket.
It is an exceptional accomplishment for a woman who has dedicated so much of her time to this most beloved game.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she says of the Umpire of the Year accolade. “Due to the Covid-19 epidemic it was an online presentation, so we didn’t even know who was nominated. Although I had a good year, I really didn’t think it was my turn yet.”
Madri had always wanted to play cricket at school, but never had the opportunity due to her gender. “I then decided to become a scorekeeper,” explains the 37-year old working at Financial Planning.
They inspire her
Umpires she looks up to are the New Zealander Kim Cotton, the first woman to umpire a men’s game, and South Africa’s “Slow Death” umpire Rudi Coertzen. “He was the first umpire I really followed closely.”
As for her favourite cricketers, the ones who stand out are Jacques Kallis, recent inductee into the Hall of Fame of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and former South African skipper Hansie Cronjé. “Hansie’s head may have been bowed, but he also held it high. He admitted his errors and showed that all of us have weaknesses.”
Never a dull moment
Days spent in the sun, watching ball after ball… One surely must get bored? “No, never!” she exclaims. “There is too much going on. You have to keep your eye on the ball at all times while also keeping an eye on the players. They can be very crafty.”
Her next goal is to be invited to complete the national umpire examinations and she hopes to one day find a seat on the ICC panel of emerging umpires.
“I would give one of my left molars to be able to officiate in a World Cup match.”
If her growing list of accomplishments is anything to go by, her innings as a ground breaker of note will remain unbeaten for some time yet.
Madri van Staden doing what she does best in the sport she loves most.
Cricket umpire Madri van Staden in action.
Madri with daughter Marli, who is following in mom's footsteps.
hitting expectations for a six!