Cape Town - Proteas women opener Laura Wolvaardt has welcomed management's decision to go into the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series with two practice matches as they eye a positive start to their tour of New Zealand.
The Proteas opener who averages just under 45 in ODIs mentioned that the best way to prepare for an overseas tour is to play "as many matches and have as many practice sessions as possible".
"It has been a good decision arriving early to be honest," says Wolvaardt.
"We have had a good opportunity to prepare for the conditions and the best preparation you can have is by going to that particular country and playing as many matches and have as many practice sessions as possible. We have had some good net sessions here and the practice matches are crucial to help us to prepare for the ODI series accordingly. Tomorrow's game against the Hearts will be key in helping us gauge our readiness for the ODI opener on Saturday."
Giving an insight into the standing of winning their 50-over matches here in New Zealand, Wolvaardt mentioned the importance to secure a direct qualification for the 2021 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup through the ongoing 2017-20 ICC Women's Championship.
Iterating that the Proteas women will look to gain points and qualify for the 2021 World Cup, Wolvaardt urged the team to take each and every ODI game against the White Ferns seriously.
"It (2021 World Cup qualification) is definitely in the forefront of our minds. The White Ferns are ranked higher than us, so if we beat this team here we will gain quite a few points and It is important to keep winning games and keep boosting our rankings. With the cut-off to reaching ICC tournaments, it is important to take each game seriously due to the points system and that will start with the ODI series here in Auckland," she said.
The Proteas play their second practice match against Super Smash runners-up in the Auckland Hearts on Wednesday at St Kentigern College, Auckland with the start of play scheduled for 11am NZ local time.
Protea Woman's ODI squad for the New Zealand tour:
Dane Van Niekerk (captain - Eastern Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Lizelle Lee (North West), Mignon Du Preez (Northerns), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Sune Luus (Northerns), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain - KZN Coastal), Shabnim Ismail (KZN Coastal), Ayabonga Khaka (Gauteng), Masabata Klaas (North West), Tumi Sekhukhune (North West), Trisha Chetty (KZN Coastal), Nonkululeko Mlaba (KZN Coastal), Nadine De Klerk (Western Province), Nondumiso Shangase (KZN Coastal)
Proteas ODI fixtures:
January 25 - 1st ODI at Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland - 01:00
January 27 - 2nd ODI at Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland - 01:00
January 30 - 3rd ODI at Seddon Park, Hamilton - 03:00
- Cricket South Africa