Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk has asked her senior players to guide the youngsters in the squad in what will be a tough tour of the West Indies.
One way for them to do so is for them to lead by example. Van Niekerk believes the West Indies tour will provide the perfect opportunity for senior players to showcase their experience in conditions unknown to the majority of the team. South Africa’s last tour to the Caribbean was in 2012 and only four players remain from that squad.
The tour will be comprised of a three-match ICC Women’s Championship (IWC) ODI and five-match T20 series. It will play a big role in the tourists’ plans to secure points towards direct qualification for the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand as well as solidify preparation for the first-ever stand-alone ICC Women’s World T20 also in the West Indies this November.
‘I think this is going to be a tough and challenging tour,’ said Van Niekerk. ‘It’s located in an absolute paradise, of course, you won’t get to see more beautiful places when on a cricket tour, but when it comes down to the business of cricket, the West Indies will test the athlete in you like very few places will.
‘The heat, the humidity, their very unique pitches, it all comes down to one package that is designed to demand a lot out of a player and it’s why I’m really looking forward to seeing what the seniors do when they are presented with this type of challenge.’
The seniors Van Niekerk refers to are vice-captain Chloe Tryon, Mignon du Preez and Marizanne Kapp, while she believes the knowledgeable minds of Lizelle Lee, Masabata Klaas and Sune Luus will also play a big role in rallying the predominantly young team.
‘I’m going to look to them to help lead the youngsters and provide guidance in the changeroom,’ she continued. ‘We have four players who have toured here and another handful of senior players who have played all over the world and know what it’s like to adapt to difficult conditions. We have been blessed with an exciting group of youngsters who are salivating at just the thought of getting started and we need to bottle that energy and distribute it wisely.’
The Proteas boast four graduates from the South African Emerging team whose performances in the last season made compelling arguments for selection. Saarah Smith, Tumi Sekhukhune, Robyn Searle and Faye Tunnicliffe are all exciting prospects for Van Niekerk.
‘It’s really encouraging to see how much talent has come up in the last few years and that the CSA pipeline is developing some quality players,’ she elaborated. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing what these girls can do and the fact that each offers something different and unique to the team’s needs is even better.
‘That, mixed with other young talents that we already have in Laura Wolvaardt, Raisibe Ntozakhe and Zintle Mali are the stuff captains’ dreams are made of. It’s going to be a good headache for selectors when it comes to picking teams going forward.
‘We have a lot to play for on this tour and I hope that the balance of youthful exuberance to experience will give us that X-factor that we’re looking for because West Indies as a team in home conditions is going to be a big challenge.’
Proteas squad to West Indies: Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Lizelle Lee (North West), Suné Luus (Northerns), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng), Masabata Klaas (North West), Zintle Mali (Border), Faye Tunnicliffe (Western Province), Robyn Searle (Gauteng), Tumi Sekhukhune (Easterns), Saarah Smith (Western Province).
Sunday, 16 September: 1st IWC ODI – Kensington Oval
Wednesday, 19 September: 2nd IWC ODI – Kensington Oval
Saturday, 22 September: 3rd IWC ODI – Kensington Oval
Monday, 24 September: 1st T20I – Kensington Oval
Friday, 28 September: 2nd T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Sunday, 30 September: 3rd T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Wednesday, 03 October: 4th T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Saturday, 06 October: 5th T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy