Proteas Women’s head coach Hilton Moreeng has declared South Africa’s readiness for their tour to India ahead of their departure over the weekend.
The national women’s team will leave the country on Sunday for a trip that comprises five T20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals.
The journey forms an important part of preparations for next year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia as well as some 50-over action ahead of crunch fixtures in the International Women’s Championship (IWC) programme away to New Zealand and at home to Australia.
‘It will be very exciting to see how things go in India where we are playing against one of the top teams and in their conditions,’ Moreeng said.
‘If we can do well, I think it can set us up nicely for the season ahead, including our IWC series against New Zealand in January.’
The Proteas Women have been hard at work over the past few months preparing for the season ahead. They spent time at the Powerade National Academy in Pretoria, with many also participating in an Emerging Series against their Bangladesh counterparts.
More recently they came together for 10 days for a training camp in Pietermaritzburg to wrap up plans ahead of the tour.
Moreeng continued: ‘Maritzburg was very good for us. It was sort of a pre-season for us as a team. A lot of the focus was on skill work, not just at the camp, but throughout the pre-season at all the different levels.
‘In Maritzburg, we brought everyone together and it was a very good exercise for us ahead of India. Again, it’s a World Cup season and it’s very important for us to improve. We want to have a better season ahead, thus the camps and all the planning.
‘The preparation building up to India has been very good. Playing Bangladesh (in the Emerging Series) was important because we will face similar bowlers in India.
‘In Maritzburg we also practised in slow and low conditions. The planning has been spot on, now it’s about execution in those tough conditions. But we have given ourselves a good chance.’
The South Africans endured a poor 2018 T20 World Cup in the West Indies, where they failed to progress from their group. This time around they will be aiming for much better and the trip to India will aid those preparations.
‘The bigger picture is always the World Cup, knowing what is coming, how you’re going to test yourself there against a very good team that knows the conditions well,’ Moreeng explained.
‘This tour to India will also about giving youngsters an opportunity knowing that you want to continue growing the team because we know that World Cups are going to come thick and fast now. IWC is also crucial. It’s two-fold for us.’
Moreeng also believes his squad is now in a much better space in terms of depth compared to 12 months ago.
The touring party was named this past Monday with unfamiliar faces like Anneke Bosch – who last played for her country nearly three years ago – and uncapped Nonkululeko Mlaba. There was also a return for senior players Ayabonga Khaka and Trisha Chetty after injuries.
‘The youngsters are coming through and I think we can safely say that we have three players per position that are competing,’ Moreeng adds.
‘This puts us in a better position compared to where we were 12 months ago. We also have to look at 2021 when there’s another 50 overs World Cup, so have to be thinking long-term. The youngsters coming through also have a great opportunity to play alongside the experienced girls in the squad, remember some of these girls are playing in T20 leagues and lining up alongside these players is of huge benefit.
‘It’s a really exciting time for young girls to be involved in cricket.’
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