'I was walking away from cricket' - Sinalo Jafta shares her battle with alcoholism ahead of WT20WC

The South African wicket-keeper expressed gratitude to her single mother for being her support.

By Rishabh Beniwal

Updated - Feb 27, 2023, 16:10 IST

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South Africa faced a heartbreaking loss against Australia in the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 on Sunday, after they failed to chase down the target of 157 at Newlands, Cape Town. It was South Africa’s first-ever appearance in the final of a senior World Cup, both men’s and women’s. Following her team’s defeat, South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batter Sinalo Jafta shared her battle with alcoholism which almost led her to quit cricket.

“Two months ago, I came out of rehab. I’ve got God to thank for my sobriety, and the team have been so supportive. I came out on December 8, and for me to get fit, to play… hectic. What a journey. The person you get on the field is someone who gets on their knees every day. I am not in control of anything. God is always in control,” Jafta was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

She revealed that social media criticism pushed her to alcoholism. “Social media, it doesn’t support you. You have a really tough day and people just bullet you. That sent me over the edge. It just wouldn’t stop. I remember coming back from the Commonwealth Games [in August] and everything just broke. I lost who I was,” she added.

The 28-year-old further thanked her mother who supported her throughout her 56-day treatment. Her mother is a teacher who raised Jafta and her brother as a single mother.

“My mom [Lumka Jafta] was one of the people who supported me through it, and the team doctor and the management gave me two months’ medical leave. I was in treatment for 56 days. I learnt the best about myself. People are allowed to have their opinions but it doesn’t define who I am,” the wicketkeeper-batter said.

I felt like I had nothing left to give, I was 27. I was done: Sinalo Jafta

Jafta, who effected four dismissals for her team throughout the tournament, disclosed she had made a decision to quit cricket when commencing her treatment in October. She, however, finished on a positive note by saying that she now sees her career infront of her.

“I was walking away from cricket. October 7 is when I made the decision I was going to go into treatment. I was done. I felt like I had nothing left to give. I was 27. I was done. Now, as a 28-year-old, I’ve got my career ahead of me. The fact that I can say I have a career ahead of me,” the 28-year-old revealed.

Speaking ahead, she got emotional and began crying as she kissed her runners-up medal. “I am going to wear this, I am going to go to bed with it, I am going to shower with it. Because this wasn’t even possible for me. This is my gold for now,” she further said.

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