Sterre Kalis says she is loving life in Australia, the Northern Diamonds batter demonstrating development in her game with a weight of winter runs.
The Dutch international is spending the first half of the winter in Tasmania, where she is playing women’s first grade cricket with the New Town club and training with the professional state squad as well as the Hobart Hurricanes Big Bash squad.
Kalis, 24, is mainly – but not exclusively – playing T20 cricket Down Under, and she has had success.
That was highlighted by a quick-fire century last week whilst opening the batting during a Tasmanian state T20 intra-squad fixture at Blundstone Arena, the state’s international venue.
“I scored 119 off 67 balls,” she said. “For me, that was a real confidence boost.
“I felt really good, and I was pleased with the runs. But the most pleasing thing was that the shots I’ve been working on and the game smartness I’ve been trying to progress worked well.”
Kalis has been impressively consistent in her time in Tasmanian grade cricket, posting scores of 54, 60, 29, 36, 34, 40 and 29 across seven innings for her club side. Some other fixtures have been washed out.
“We play two T20s a weekend, which is good because of the amount of cricket you play,” she said. “The period before Christmas is a T20 league.
“They changed the whole set-up a few years ago, to reduce the teams. That means you play each other more, but the teams are way better in standard than they were.”
This is Kalis’s second winter in Tasmania: “My first ever year in Australia when I was 18 and had just finished school – my gap year – was in Tasmania,” she continued. “That was back in 2017.
“I got offered my first professional contract for the Queensland Fire the year after, then Melbourne. That was before Covid hit and I went back to Europe. That was the year I came to play to the UK, and I’ve played for the Diamonds ever since.
“Six years ago, I stayed with a family here, and I’m back with them now. It’s been really nice to see everyone again and catch up. To see how they have developed their cricket and lives over time is so good to see!
Kalis continued: “I’ve been involved with the Tasmanian state squad and the Hurricanes when they’re in Hobart.
“It’s just training at the moment. In state cricket here in Australia you’re only allowed to have one overseas player, and Tasmania already have Lizelle Lee as their overseas player so I can’t play competitive matches for them now.
“They train four times a week, and their standard is really good with it being a professional organisation. It is so good to learn from different players and coaches here and see how they go about things, and share thoughts. That’s definitely moving my game forwards.
“I’m also going with the Tasmanian team to Adelaide this week to play friendly games against South Australia. It’s a five-day trip we had to be selected for.
“We’re playing two 50-over games and training as well. It should be really good to go away and play cricket in a different state with different conditions.
Given the matches Kalis is playing through until she returns to Holland just before Christmas are mainly T20 cricket, that works ideally for the classy right-hander.
“Over the last few years, I’ve been really working hard on my T20 game,” she said. “I’ve been trying to play more 360 degrees but also to get more power into my game.”
Another major positive in that regard is that she has been rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lizelle Lee and Elyse Villani – both notoriously aggressive openers.
“Lizelle plays for my club team when she’s available and her wife does as well,” said Kalis.
“Lizelle’s been in the Big Bash, a lot of the leagues around the world for a long time and international cricket as well.
“Her and Villani are very explosive at the top of the order from the very start, and that’s something I want to get more into my game.
“I want to cause more damage at the top of the order in T20 cricket.”
Kalis batted at four for the Diamonds in T20s this summer, though is hoping for an opportunity on top of the order this upcoming season.
She is a regular opener in international T20 cricket for the Dutch national team and different leagues she been involved in overseas.
“It’s something I definitely want to do in T20 cricket as well as 50-over cricket,” she said.
“I’ve been opening in 50-over cricket this year, which has been a new challenge, and I really enjoyed that. Batting with Lozzie (Winfield-Hill) has been amazing.
“She’s a player full of class in so many ways. To be opening the batting with her been have been very good for my development this year.
“Her strengths are different to mine, and I’ve been learning a lot from her on and off the field. The shots she plays early in the innings and the way she goes about her cricket has been something I can learn from. I’ve been challenging myself to get more of this into my game too.”
While the Diamonds were unable to claim silverware in 2023, Kalis believes it was a good summer – and is confident there is better to come in 2024.
“Yes, we lost the likes of Linsey Smith and Jenny Gunn ahead of this year,” she added. “Beth Langston has been injured for a long time as well, and she’s someone we miss a lot in our squad.
“But I think this year was a good one regarding learnings and opportunities.
“A lot of the younger girls have been really good for us and have shown what they’re capable of. It’s been amazing to see the amount of talent we have in the squad and coming through the Academy. To see them contribute in the first team has been so good to see.
“I have no doubt this year, with a bit more experience behind us, we’ll be back competing for trophies.
“We’ve seen Loz away in the Big Bash, Bess Heath as well and with England too. Myself and Leah Dobson are in Australia playing and Hollie Armitage is with England A.
“For a lot of the girls to be away and play cricket in different teams and conditions is really good and when we all get back and share what we learned with the team it will hopefully benefit everyone.
“We will all come back together as a squad after Christmas with our games in a good place.
“I’ve been in contact with a lot of the girls back at home, and the vibe in the group is fantastic.
“I’m really looking forward to being back with the team, and no doubt we have a great chance of success.”