Sunday Times

Kapp’s injury a blow to Proteas


● Marizanne Kapp is the last player the Proteas women’s team can afford to lose. And her teammates will nervously be watching the next few days with the hope she makes a speedy recovery after being struck on the left elbow in the first One-Day Internatio­nal (ODI) against Australia yesterday.

Kapp, consistent­ly the best player in the SA team over the last decade, will receive extensive treatment over the next few days for what the team’s management described as a “soft tissue” injury.

An already tough tour — in which the Proteas find themselves 6-2 down in the multiforma­t series after yesterday’s eight-wicket loss at the Adelaide Oval — could become embarrassi­ng if 34-year-old Kapp is ruled out.

SA still have two more ODIs and a Test match to play and, while the likes of Laura Wolvaardt and fellow opener Tazmin Brits have scored half-centuries in the T20 series, Kapp’s class with both bat and ball is irreplacea­ble. “It’s really hard to fill those shoes,” Kapp’s teammate Chloe Tryon mused yesterday.

Put in to bat after Alyssa Healy won her fourth toss in a row, the Proteas were reduced to 9/3 in the eighth over, with Wolvaardt, one of those already back in the change-room, when she hit a long hop straight to point.

As was the case in the final T20 Internatio­nal last week, when the Proteas also lost three wickets in the power play, Kapp had to come to the rescue. “There was no fight at all from us,” said Tryon.

“They came really hard at us and, as a unit, I just felt we didn’t give it back to them, we let them settle on a length, then we got frustrated and lost wickets regularly. Kapp came out there with intent. That is really important as a batter, you have to be proactive.”

Kapp scored 50 off 58 balls, but upon reaching the landmark, the 13th half-century of her stellar career, she was inadverten­tly struck on the elbow by a throw from one of Australia’s boundary fielders. “It takes a lot to get her off the field, so we knew it was serious,” said Tryon.

“She has a very calm head. She never tries to overhit the ball, she plays it on its merit, but there is intent behind every shot she plays. We needed someone to stick with her, but that didn’t happen, and then she got hurt.”

The rest of the batting order capitulate­d and SA were bowled out for 105 in 31.3 overs. Australia reached the target in 19 overs for the loss of just two wickets.

In the multi-format series, two points are awarded for wins in each T20 and ODI, while victory in the Test match earns the winning side six points.

SA has played just 13 Tests in 64 years, with Kapp playing in the last two, and scoring 150 in the match against England in Somerset two years ago. Her absence will be a significan­t blow for a team that is still looking for some direction, while Cricket SA continues to ponder who should coach the team.

Hilton Moreeng, whose contract ended last June, has been given two temporary extensions since; the first took him to the end of last year and the next one will expire at the end of April.

The team remains one that is in a developmen­t stage following the retirement of a number of experience­d individual­s in the last couple of years, including Shabnim Ismail, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee and Trisha Chetty.

It’s really hard to fill those shoes

Chloe Tryon

Proteas women player

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 ?? Sarah Reed/Getty Images ?? Marizanne Kapp was forced to retire hurt in yesterday's first ODI between Australia and South Africa in Adelaide.
Sarah Reed/Getty Images Marizanne Kapp was forced to retire hurt in yesterday's first ODI between Australia and South Africa in Adelaide.

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