Proteas Women captain Dané van Niekerk says the performances from the junior players in the T20I series against Sri Lanka was a wake-up call for the senior players.
The three-match T20I series, concluded on Wednesday, saw South Africa wrap up a 3-0 whitewash over the tourists with a comfortable 39-run victory at SuperSport Park.
The relatively inexperienced Tazmin Brits and Lara Goodall were among the top five run-getters behind leading batter Van Niekerk, while Nadine de Klerk showed her worth with the ball.
‘You have to breed new blood, and you have to give them opportunities to flourish,’ she said. ‘There were some tough decisions [made regarding selection], but these players that came in really raised their hands enough to get into the set-up.
‘They’ve now come out and shown the country that they deserve to be in the South African team. It was really good, and it makes me proud as the captain. Now it also gives us momentum going into the ODIs as well.’
Van Niekerk also stated that the pool of national players was widening due to the impressive performances of the youngsters entering the fold.
She added it would mean that no player could take their place for granted in the future.
‘I think the way the juniors came in and performed in the side is also a massive message for the seniors,’ explained Van Niekerk. ‘You can’t take your place for granted anymore because the amount of talent coming through is huge. And that creates healthy competition within the side.’
Van Niekerk top-scored in the last game as the Proteas posted a series-high total of 163-5 in Centurion, with Goodall (35) and Brits (36) also contributing.
Sri Lanka was then restricted to 124 for eight, thanks to De Klerk’s brilliant 3-27, as well excellent showings by Shabnim Ismail (2-11) and Marizanne Kapp (1-3).
‘We always said 150 plus will be a really good score, especially with our bowling line-up,’ Van Niekerk concluded.
‘SuperSport Park generally helps pace bowlers, so I knew that Kappie [Marizanne Kapp] and Shabnim [Ismail] would zing it past them, and obviously sub-continent teams aren’t as comfortable with pace swinging past you.
‘Before that the momentum was great for us with the bat, the way everyone came in and kept going was excellent and helped put us in a good position.’
The South Africans now take on their Sri Lankan counterparts in a three-match ICC Women’s Championship ODI Series starting on Monday.
South Africa ODI series squad: Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Saarah Smith (Western Province), Tumi Sekhukhune (North West), Zintle Mali (Border), Faye Tunnicliffe (wicketkeeper, Boland), Masabata Klaas (North West), Andrie Steyn (Western Province).
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images