Wolvaardt counting on troops to make transition from Test

Tazmin Brits of South Africa and Laura Wolvaardt will look to lead Proteas Women in their T20I Series against India. | BackpagePix

Tazmin Brits of South Africa and Laura Wolvaardt will look to lead Proteas Women in their T20I Series against India. | BackpagePix

Published Jul 5, 2024


THE MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai was an absolute tar road last week as India Women scored over 500 runs on the opening day of the recently concluded one-off Test.

Born and bred in South Africa, where tracks have pace and bounce, it is tradition to hand a new cherry to a seamer. However, that rule tends to be ineffective on Indian tracks which tend to be a lot kinder to spinners than to quicks.

As a result, with the three-match T20I series starting in Chennai today, Proteas Women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt is looking to change plans slightly and introduce spinners in the powerplay and at the backend of the innings.

After all, the surfaces in Bangladesh where the T20 World Cup will be staged, will more or less resemble Chennai.

“It’s a good time to see if we could perhaps use a bit more spin in the powerplay and at the death,” Wolvaardt told the media yesterday. “Traditionally we use a lot of spin in the middle but it could be a good time to experiment. It depends on the conditions on the day.”

Coming from a totally different format of the game – Test – just last week, Wolvaardt and her troops will have the challenge of setting their minds back to white ball cricket.

However, the 25-year-old is adamant that they will make the transition despite having a difficult preparation for the T20 series.

“My net session today wasn’t the best ever – I think I was trying to overhit the ball and getting into T20 mode and trying to whack everything,” Wolvaardt admitted.

“Whereas, most of the basics still apply. In the Tests, it was a lot about playing late and getting into good positions, which I think it’s still the same thing in T20 cricket.

“I had a good chat with our batting coach (Baakier Abrahams) just to avoid getting too ahead of myself because I think it’s T20 cricket. The good cricket shots will still bring value and runs on this wicket even in T20 cricket. This is a format that we know and that we play very often.”

To strengthen what has been a struggling middle order, one that has been rescued repeatedly by Marizanne Kapp throughout the tour, Chloe Tryon returns to the side having missed the ODIs and the Test due to injury.

Perhaps more than the impact Tryon would have in the field of play, it is her bubbly personality that the teams have missed in her absence.

“Having Chloe back brings a whole lot of experience, especially in T20 cricket. She’s one of the most destructive batters in world cricket,” said Wolvaardt.

“Having her walking in the middle order is something that we can’t take for granted. Her bowling has really been coming along nicely lately. She’s developed into a world-class left-arm spinner. Around the group, she helps me with plans and captaincy.

“She’s a very lively, bubbly person so to have her around the changeroom is always good to add a bit of vibe. It’s always a good time when Chloe is around.”

The first T20 between South Africa Women and India Women will be played today (3.30pm SA time) in Chennai.