Proteas women seek fresh start - Van Niekerk

Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)
Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)

Cape Town - Proteas women captain Dané van Niekerk is predicting a far bolder South Africa team in 2019 compared to the one that disappointed at the ICC Women’s World T20 last year when they play their first home international of the season against Sri Lanka in Cape Town on Friday.

The three-match series is a televised double-header alongside the men’s T20 series against Pakistan starting at Newlands.

It is also the first match since the South Africans endured a poor global competition in the West Indies last November, where they ended third out of five teams in their group.

“After the World Cup we had a massive chat, we’ve had to rethink our strategies and we’ve done that,” Van Niekerk explained. “We’ve got some new faces in the squad and we just want to rebuild as a T20 group and make sure what happened at the World Cup doesn’t happen again.

“We’ve made some changes to the batting line-up and we needed to do that to give players the opportunity to show what they can do.

“I think we’ve given enough opportunities in the past to some, so it’s time to give some young blood and some new faces to get the opportunity they worked hard for, so I'm really excited to see how they go.

“We want to play an attacking brand of cricket and that’s one of our big targets.”

The Proteas skipper also conceded that her side had made little progress since the 50-over World Cup held in England in 2017.

During that competition, the South African women wowed the world on their way to the semi-finals, where they lost to the eventual champions and hosts in the semi-finals. However, Van Niekerk says they now needed to move on from that performance and seek to reach the next level.

“Honestly speaking I'm going to sit here and lie if I say we’ve progressed,” she said. “After our performance at the World Cup, I think we digressed. We stagnated and it was a massive wake-up call, which has led to changes and in a way it may have been a good thing. We’re learning all the time from what happened there.”

Earlier this week, one of their star players and vice-captain Chloe Tryon was been ruled out of the T20 series after a reoccurrence of a groin injury. Suné Luus has been drafted in as a replacement.

Speaking about the injury, Van Niekerk said it would be an opportunity for other player to shine.

“It’s a massive blow because we all know she’s one of the biggest hitters in the world, but it’s an opportunity for some of the others to show what they can do,” the captain concluded.

South Africa’s match will start at 13:00 and will be live on SuperSport 2.  

South Africa T20 series squad:

Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Suné Luus (Northerns), Lizelle Lee (wicket-keeper, North West), Tazmin Brits (North West), 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), Nadine de Klerk (Northerns)

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