Proteas Women likely to have a new coach for next month’s historic tour of Pakistan

Dinesha Devnarain is the favourite to succeed Hilton Moreeng as the Proteas Women’s new head coach

FILE - Dinesha Devnarain is the favourite to succeed Hilton Moreeng as the Proteas Women’s new head coach. Photo: Dolphins Cricket

Published Jul 3, 2023

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Cape Town — The Proteas Women’s team could have a new head coach when they depart on their historic tour of Pakistan next month.

The Proteas have not played together since their historic appearance in a first-ever ICC T20 Women’s World Cup final at Newlands back in February.

Some of the players have appeared in various franchise leagues such as the inaugural Women’s Premier League in India and also the Fairbreak Global Invitation in Hong Kong.

However, more importantly, the retirements of senior players such as former captain Danie van Niekerk and leading fast bowler Shabnim Ismail in the interim has left the team devoid of crucial experience ahead of packed international season that includes the tours to Pakistan and Australia with a New Zealand visit to South African shores sandwiched in between.

Crucially, the Proteas management staff’s contracts also expired at the end of last month, including that of long-serving head coach Hilton Moreeng.

The 45-year-old former Free State wicket-keeper has been at the helm of the Proteas Women’s team since taking over from Yashin Ebrahim in 2012. The Proteas development has been exponential during this 11-year period, particularly after the 2017 World Cup in England when he guided the team to the semi-finals at Bristol.

With the latter part of Moreeng’s tenure also coinciding with the advent of professionalism in the women’s game, the Proteas reached a successive World Cup semi-final in New Zealand in 2022, along with a T20 World Cup semi-final appearance in Australia in 2020 before progressing to the T20 WC final in Cape Town earlier this year.

But with the team currently undergoing a transition with plenty of new faces now required to replace previous stalwarts such as Van Niekerk, Ismail, Mignon du Preez and Trishy Chetty, there is a belief that the team also requires a fresh voice with new ideas and strategies in the head coach position.

Cricket SA have recently advertised a new position for a “Head of Women’s Cricket”, who according to overall Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe “will look after the entire pathway of women's cricket, especially the top end of it because we need to make sure we build a strong feeder system into our national team.”

IOL Sport understands that Moreeng is being touted to be elevated to this role in order to maximise his vast knowledge of international women’s cricket acquired over the past 11 years.

Moreeng’s successor is likely to be former Proteas Women’s captain and current SA U19 Women’s coach Dinesha Devnarain. Devnarain recently guided the SA U19 team at the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup, which was also held in South Africa.

She was also head coach of Coronations for the first two seasons of the Women's T20 Super League, as well as Women's National Academy head coach where she worked extensively with the next generation of players coming through the women’s pipeline.

The Proteas Women’s coach will need to appoint a captain after Sune Luus was only handed the position until the end of the T20 World Cup after taking over from Van Niekerk, who failed a fitness test, in controversial circumstances.

Although Luus’ struggled with her personal form with both bat and ball during the T20 World Cup, she earned plenty of praise for the manner in which she guided the team under extreme pressure both on and off the field during the tournament.

It is expected that Luus will maintain the captaincy for the Pakistan tour, in particular, as her leadership was also exemplary on the India tour in 2021 when the Proteas claimed a historic series victory on the subcontinent.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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