Cape Town - Ts’oane Ke Nako! ... “It’s the Women’s time!”
I recently had the privilege of commentating on the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup.
The excitement was unbridled. For many of the players involved it was the first time they had boarded a plane - let alone travelled overseas. Potchefstroom and Benoni was an entirely new world.
And that’s exactly where women’s cricket is right now globally. The women’s game is breaking boundaries and providing opportunities like never before.
Professionalism has almost become the norm. Players are now able to choose cricket as an occupation. Outside of their respective national teams there are lucrative T20 franchise leagues springing up, including the upcoming Women’s Premier League and England’s Hundred competition.
The marketing around the women’s game, particularly broadcast, has also increased the players’ popularity and appeal.
And South Africa will be the epicentre of all this when the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup gets underway here on our coastal shores this month.
The 10-team tournament has the potential to create a seismic shift in South Africa.
Our country’s well-documented problems related to Gender Based Violence is a reality.
The players now have the opportunity to transform into superheroes for all the young girls that will be watching and show them that they are able to stand up and have the courage to choose a different path.
The Proteas Women’s team, under the leadership of Sune Luus, will be central to conveying this message. They will have their own ambitions of becoming the first South African senior cricket team to reach a World Cup final, but the responsibilities on their shoulders is far greater.
Luus and her team, consisting of superstars like Laura Wolvaard, Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, and others are though well prepared for the challenge.
They know they have the entire country behind them. Just like the 1995 World Cup Springboks were playing for a greater cause.
It is now their time. It is now the time of every woman playing the game of cricket.