Proteas Women confident they can mount a serious challenge at next years Cricket World Cup
Proteas Women’s stand-in captain Sune Luus believes the team are playing their best cricket currently and are quietly confident that they can mount a challenge at next year’s Women Cricket World Cup.
“The team has definitely clicked,” Luus told the Saturday Star this week.
“The bowling and batting department is definitely working well together, as well as the fielding department. The girls are just enjoying the game of cricket at the moment, but there's always room to improve, so I think on our off days we will look towards that and see where we can improve.”
The team arrived back in South Africa two weeks ago following a historic win in India which saw the Proteas hammer the hosts 4-1 in the One Day International series, followed by a 2-1 T20 series win.
It’s the first time the Proteas have beaten India in a T20 series, and to do it on the sub-continent made it all that much more impressive.
Following their success in India, the team was also honoured with the Recognition of Sport Excellence Award last week by South Africa Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Along with the recognition, the Proteas women were given a R500 000 cash bonus.
Luus, who captained the Proteas in India, said the team are beaming with confidence following their recent performances, and feel confident going into next year’s World Cup, which is scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand in March and April.
“I definitely think we are one of the teams to watch next year,” said Luus.
“I think if we just continue with our form, next year's World Cup is going to be a good one and a challenging one. The girls are ready, they’re very excited, and are keen to bring a World Cup home for the first time ever, so think the motivation is extremely high and only good things can come from that.”
Following their win in India, the Proteas Women’s team have also risen to second in the world, displacing Australia.
“The team has worked extremely hard to get to where we are today, and to be ranked number two in the world,” said Luus.
“I think in India we showed just how good we are and how good we can be, so it’s a really exciting time for the momentum Proteas.”
Speaking of the team’s historic tour in India, Luus said she was incredibly proud of the team’s performances.
“India was definitely a challenge. We certainly didn’t know what to expect when we got there, but I think the way we played, just showed the maturity of the girls, and the performances that were put in was just exceptional and everyone enjoyed India a lot, and I think that kind of showed in the team’s performance and obviously as the stand-in captain for the team. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Luus also praised the hosts.
“When you go to India, you really don't know what to expect, but they have been very good hosts to us over the past month and I think the venue we played was world-class.
“The pitches we played at were well prepared, so well done to India for hosting such a lovely series, and the girls well and truly enjoyed it.”
Luus adds that while the team were confident going into the series, they never imagined winning by such a big margin in the One Day International series.
“We definitely expected a good challenge in India. We certainly didn’t think we were going to win 4-1 in the ODI’s and 2-1 in the T20s, but as the games went on, the girls got more and more confident and that helped with the upcoming games as well.”
She added that the pitches were also very well prepared in India.
“Normally Indian pitches are extremely difficult to play on, but this time, they gave us a pitch close to home.”
“It wasn’t really suitable for spin. Perhaps in the last few games, but I think it was a well-prepared wicket which gave both teams a chance, whether you were batting or bowling first.”
Luus says belief in the camp had helped them secure a historic win in India.
“We chatted quite a bit about what we did differently on this tour to be so successful, but we can't pinpoint it, something just clicked.
“There was a silent confidence going around. The girls just believed in themselves and their teammates and that's the biggest thing to be a successful team.
“I think previously, we weren't as prepared. Since the last tour to India, the girls have certainly matured as cricketers, they have grown as cricketers and they know the game a bit better, so I think that was definitely the deciding factor this time around.”
Luus added that it was also a huge honour to captain the team in India.
“It’s always a challenge to captain your national team, but I think it was a great privilege for me to do so, and a big opportunity to show that I’m someone for the future hopefully.”
“Being captain grows your game as well. It’s been a challenge but a good one, and hopefully the coaches thought I did a good job.”