While Cricket South Africa’s off-field battles wage on and the Proteas men continue to struggle for continuity, the South African ladies have provided a much-needed silver lining, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The Proteas Women will return home on Thursday on the back of a high-quality performance in India the past two weeks.
Hilton Moreeng’s charges outclassed, outsmarted and outplayed a very talented India Women team in very trying subcontinent conditions, winning both the ODI and T20I series.
Individuals rose to the occasion and a number of younger faces announced themselves on the international stage but, as a whole, the group of women showed what can be achieved in unison.
The Proteas Women sent a very strong and clear signal to the rest of the competing nations: they are the new challengers on the block, eager to dethrone Australia as the best team in the world.
A semi-final defeat by the dominant Australians during last year’s T20I World Cup Down Under was a strong indication of how far the team has come.
But, the recent performance was a sign of the growing desire that this group of women is determined to thrive and become the best in the world.
In the absence of regular captain Dane van Niekerk, Sune Luus led her charges with aplomb. Her decision-making, especially in the crucial ODI series, was critical to achieving the best on the batting and bowling fronts.
Players like Lizelle Lee excelled to even greater heights and, in limited-overs cricket, she is busy establishing herself as the frontline performer with bat in hand.
Similarly, Shabnim Ismail was a thorn in the flesh of Indian hopes, providing devastation and pin-point accuracy with the ball.
These women deserve the country’s applause and continued support in the months and years to come. They are in the process of building something truly special that could become the carrier of hope for South African cricket in general.
It is encouraging to witness the self-belief and the fearless approach they have adopted to take their game to the next level. Especially during a time where administrative issues and poor form by the men’s team continue to dampen the mood and image of the country’s cricket.
It’s also important for South African cricket fans to buy into the idea of women’s cricket and get involved in their participation across the world, particularly considering that in 2022 they will take on the world yet again in the ODI World Cup in New Zealand.