Cape Town - Shabmin Ismail believes the Proteas Women’s team will need to improve their “mental” strength if they are to reach a maiden World Cup final.
This group of Proteas have now lost three consecutive semi-finals at major ICC tournaments with Thursday’s defeat to England at Hagley Oval joining a list that also includes Bristol (2017) and Sydney (2020).
“For me, it's pretty simple. I don't think it's a skill problem that we have. I think it's more mental. I think we've got the skill, we've got world class players in our lineup and I mean, it's just for us to fire on the day,” Ismail said.
“Unfortunately, we couldn't – just for us obviously go back and work on our mental part of the game. I always say it's 80% mental and 20% skill and we didn't rock up and credit to England for winning the game.”
There has been plenty of speculation that this World Cup could signal the end of an era for the Proteas with Ismail, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp and Trisha Chetty reaching the end of their careers.
But 33-year-old Ismail has, though, dismissed any talk of retirement and committed to leading the Proteas attack for a few more years at least and wants to avenge this second consecutive semi-final defeat to England in 2025.
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“For me, it's pretty simple. I mean, I feel in my cricketing career I'm just peaking at the right time. I know I'm 33-years-old now but I feel that my career is going in the right direction,” said Ismail.
“Hopefully when we get to England, we can get our revenge but also in saying that it's not only about getting revenge, but playing good cricket and smart cricket as well.”
Proteas captain Sune Luus believes her pace spearhead has a few more years left in the tank and remains proud of her team’s performance at the World Cup.
“I think Ismail is ready to go for another, another one or two more,” she said.
“But I know it's going to be a hard pill to swallow, especially just in the way we lost. I felt like that was a bit disappointing. But I guess it still doesn't take away from how we've been playing. So I think we just need to look back at that and reflect on that and enjoy the fact that we were in the semi-final and although it didn't go our way. I think we can still be very proud of ourselves.”