CAPE TOWN – Proteas Women’s coach Hilton Moreeng refuses to lay claim that his team are the “favourites” ahead of the much-anticipated One-Day International series against the West Indies, starting on Tuesday in Coolidge.
The Proteas are ranked No 3 on the ICC’s ODI table compared to their hosts’ sixth position, with a whopping 34 ranking points between them. Equally, the visitors’ opening pair – Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt – are ranked in the top 10 batters list, while their three seamers – Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka – are also placed in the top 10 bowlers list.
In comparison, the Windies only have star all-rounder Stafanie Taylor on both lists.
Moreeng’s caution seemingly stems from the fact the Proteas have yet to win a series across any format in the Caribbean. They were reminded on the weekend just how tough it is to attain success in this region when after dominating the second T20I, the hosts hit back to level the series in the decider in Antigua.
“I won’t say we’re favourites, we are playing against a team that’s playing in their own conditions,” Moreeng said on Monday.
“But this is a format that we want to keep on improving in. It is one of our stronger formats. We have a settled squad. The players all know what they need to do to get on the right side of the result. Everything is moving in the right direction. We should be highly competitive.”
After two positive performances in the opening T20I’s, it was the Proteas’ batting unit that misfired in the third and final match. Moreeng believes that greater application at the crease will remedy this.
“The application of our batters wasn’t what was required. But we can learn from that. They throw a lot of spinners at you. There are also a couple of seamers upfront that can trouble you. That’s why application will be important. It’s also about building partnerships, we’ve seen that’s how we can put the opposition under pressure,” he said.
“The bowlers have been exceptional. They found their lengths and have used the conditions to our strengths. The key will be again the fielders, and how we back up our bowlers.”
Moreeng also stressed that the Proteas would be fielding their strongest team throughout the five-match series with the World Cup in New Zealand just a few months away, with Shabnim Ismail and Lara Goodall set to undergo fitness tests before the match.
The full Proteas ODI squad for West Indies
Dane Van Niekerk (c), Sune Luus, Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondu Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Chloe Tryon, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune, Masabata Klaas.