Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Proteas women on steep learning curve

- ONGAMA GCWABE ongamagcwa­be@icloud.com

THE Women’s 50-Over World Cup is in a little over a year’s time and for the

South African Women’s team, the recently concluded Pakistan tour has been an important step in building towards that

World Cup.

The Proteas women’s team returns home with an ODI series trophy having beaten Pakistan 2-1, but they suffered a 3-0 series whitewash in the T20I series.

With a lot of uncertaint­ies surroundin­g the team, seeing that there is no permanent captain, no permanent head coach and some senior players’ retirement­s looming, the positive about the Pakistan tour has been how the team recovered from the T20I series whitewash.

A few players stood out, and look to be coming into their own at internatio­nal cricket, which is much-needed for a side that has had a number of key retirement­s in recent years.

Arguably, the most impressive South African player during the ODI series was Nadine de Klerk, who finished top wicket-taker in the ODI series and was handy with the bat as well.

“She’s been incredible this series. I think she got a game in The Hundred and whacked the second-fasted fifty ever,” said interim captain Laura Wolvaardt. “She’s been batting that way in the nets for a couple of months back at home so I’m very excited that she’s able to translate that in the (Internatio­nal) game.

“Having a player like her that’s able to bowl 10 overs of seam and bat in the top six as well is incredible.

“We are lucky to have players like her and Kappie (Marizanne Kapp) to be able to play in the same line-up because it gives us so many more options.”

Wolvaardt is also on interim captaincy duty for the in-bound tour of New Zealand that starts next week, and for a player new in captaincy it was a baptism of fire when the tour started with three consecutiv­e losses in the T20Is.

“I’ve learnt that I have to sometimes be a bit more adaptable depending on what the situation needs,” said Wolvaardt.

“I’m normally a very organised and planned out person, so I’d like to plan out my bowling changes before the time but I’ve learnt that you have to be able to adapt and change depending on the situation.

“I’m lucky that I have a lot of senior players around me to help me in those moments.”

The Proteas have The White Ferns up next in yet another white-ball tour that includes three ODIs and five T20Is.

From an ODI point of view, there’s ICC Women’s ODI Championsh­ip points that need to be secured as qualificat­ion for the 2025 ODI World Cup is up for grabs.

“They are a tough team and it is four points, so the ODIs are definitely games that we are going to have to try and win,” said Wolvaardt.

“The conditions will be different to what we experience­d over here (Pakistan), I think we will have to adapt again and get together as a team and see what we need to change.”

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