PROTEAS WOMEN PREPARE FOR NZ SERIES

The Momentum Proteas have spent the past this week at the Cricket South Africa Centre of Excellence in Pretoria as they begin final preparations for two big tours against New Zealand and Australia in the coming months.

The 18-women contingent met for a camp that will see a final 15 chosen for the seven-match One-Day International series against New Zealand’s White Ferns beginning on 8 October in Kimberley. The first three matches form part of the ICC Women’s Championship, the qualifying competition for next year’s ICC Women’s World Cup.

The country’s national women’s team are coming off a successful tour of Ireland where they comfortably won a ODI series 3-1 and drew their two-match T20 sequence.

They will boast a full-strength squad when they face New Zealand.

“For us it’s actually been a good week so far,” coach Hilton Moreeng said. “We have a lot of fringe players in the squad, all the players from the KIA League as well as all the players from the Ireland tour where a lot of learning happened (are here).

“I think for us it was important to touch base with each and every player to make sure we sharpen our skills because we’ve got two tough tours coming.”

“As far as the ICC challenge is concerned, we need to make sure we win these tours in order to qualify in the top four.”

The Momentum Proteas are currently fifth in the race for the World Cup, only a point behind New Zealand, which makes their meeting even more important.

Moreeng also reflected on the trip to Ireland.

“It was very encouraging, especially if you see how the youngsters carried themselves in very tough conditions,” he continued. “I don’t think anyone in the team (under normal circumstances) experiences those sort of conditions when it’s wet, rainy and cold, so those sort of conditions took some getting used to. The players were put out of their comfort zone and how they came across and the results we got from some of these players was very good.”

“One of the things that was very positive was how our batters applied themselves on those difficult wickets. It shows with the records that were broken on the tour.

“As a team, I think we are developing and maturing. We’re moving in the right direction and it shows that we’re slowly getting where we want to be as far as the depth is concerned.”

With so many players putting their hand up in the absence of the star names, it has also brought about a selection headache for the selectors.

“We have to look at everything that has transpired in the last two months. I think we had a good winter where all the contracted players and fringe players here, about 18 of them whom we worked with daily in the National Academy over the winter,” Moreeng added.

“The results showed. It’s important to take that going into the New Zealand tour where the first three games are extremely important, but we’ll take it one game at a time.

“It’s always difficult when you’re playing a home series regarding the pressure that you have to deal with, but mentally, I think the girls are in a good place.

“The intensity and work we’ve done this week has been very impressive, so we’re very happy with where the squad is as a whole. We can’t wait to get started.”

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