Tumi Sekhukhune is the new kid on the block as she adapts to her unexpected life as a Protea, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
It’s difficult not to be excited about the direction South African women’s cricket is heading. The Proteas Women have been building an identity and ethos that makes them one of the most exciting teams in the world.
Their run in the 2017 World Cup saw them reach the semi-final but they were heartbroken by an experienced England side who went on to win the tournament.
Their most attractive quality is their hunger to win and this is amplified by the balance of youth and experience in the side. An important aspect of any successful side is how younger players buy into the culture of the team. The system has proven to do so successfully with Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus, who have become crucial to the side’s makeup.
Hilton Moreeng and his staff seem adamant to uphold the competitiveness for positions by giving youngsters a chance to prove their worth.
Nineteen-year-old medium pacer Sekhukhune is one of the players added to the squad for the Proteas Women’s tour of the West Indies as they prepare for the World T20 in November.
Sekhukhune’s selection may have come as a surprise to the youngster, but her performances for the SA Emerging side and for Northerns were more than enough to impress the selectors.
‘I had a goal of two years to get into the national squad. I was in the national academy for two years and thought that I would be ready in two years,’ Sekhukhune told SACricketmag.com. ‘On a skill and attitude level, I felt ready but told myself that I wasn’t ready. Fortunately, the selectors saw something in me and here I am today.’
Her first taste of the life as a national player came during the Proteas Women camp from 20-30 August where she learned how to work on her consistency as well as bowling to a particular field. She also learned how to adapt her game to fit into the Proteas Women’s aggressive approach towards the T20 format.
Sekhukhune is aware that, to keep her place in the side, it will be key to take wickets in the West Indies series if she is to figure in the selectors’ World Cup plans and beyond.
‘I just need to take wickets,’ she continued. ‘I show positivity in everything I do, whether I’m fielding or bowling. I have an attitude of wanting to learn as much as possible so I can grow every day.
‘This West Indies tour is for me to learn as much as possible and improve my attitude towards the game. It’s a new environment so I want to expand my skills and adapt to the team – the way they play, adapt to the conditions and how they adapt to travelling internationally.’
Although she was aware of her responsibility as an individual, there has been an evident effort from the structure of the national team in their approach of welcoming new additions to the side.
‘Everyone was excited for me to be here and I have been gelling with them well,’ she added. ‘There is no particular person because everyone was welcoming but, to name a few, Chloe Tryon, Raisibe Ntozakhe and Sipokazi Sokanyile, our media liaison.’
Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images