Centurion – Sune Luus must be blessed with an abundance of patience. Despite being the Proteas’ captain across all three formats for over two years, and marshalling her team’s progress to a World Cup semi-final, she is still made to feel like she is simply keeping the seat warm.
But on Friday night at Newlands that is all about to change. Luus will lead the Proteas in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup opening game against Sri Lanka.
It is a seminal moment in South African sport history. And Luus fully understands its importance.
“It's quite massive. I don't think we quite realise what we already achieved without playing the game. I think it's going to be awesome just seeing everyone coming out,” Luus said, ahead of the tournament opener.
“I think apart from the cricketing things and apart from being successful and winning games, there's a responsibility of inspiring a nation as well and inspiring young girls to get out of their comfort zones and to, I guess, imagine a career that they can do anything.
“I think that’s one of our biggest roles as a team we would like to play, not just winning games, but also inspiring a nation to give them that opportunity to know that they can be anything they want.”
Luus’ personal growth over the past couple of years has been equally impressive, as she has slowly stepped out of former captain Dane van Niekerk’s large shadow.
“I guess it's always difficult being a standing captain. You're always one foot in, one foot out. But I think as I grew up, I was always a leader at some stage in whatever team I played.
“I think those leadership qualities came naturally to me, and I think it’s a role I would really like to grow into. And I think every game you play; you get more accustomed to your teammates next to you and what they want and what they need.
“At the moment, I’m an official captain, so I think it makes my job easier to take control and kind of stamp my authority on things and how I would like to go about things and how I would like to do things.”
Luus’ first task will be to ensure her team don’t slip up against a Sri Lankan team that will undoubtedly look to spoil the hosts’ party. The visitors will naturally rely on their spinners to get among the Proteas’ batting unit, and the skipper is particularly wary of a Newlands surface that has afforded the slow bowlers plenty of assistance during the recent Betway SA20.
“I think Newlands is always a good ground to play on. I think obviously with the SA20 a lot of cricket has been played on it. So, we’re not expecting a road, but I think they’re also producing very good wickets.
“In terms of Sri Lanka, we know they’re a subcontinent team. They’re going to throw a lot of spin overs at us. So that’s something we need to address and we’re also very well prepared for that. And I think, you know, they also have a well-balanced side with some strong hitters.
‘I think it’s going to be a well-balanced game and I think it’s going to be, you know, a game for us that we really need to try and be at our best.”
SQUADS FOR NEWLANDS
South Africa: Sune Luus (c), Chloe Tryon (vc), Sinalo Jafta (wk), Tebogo Macheke (wk), Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Laura Wolvaardt, Tazmin Brits, Anneke Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Annerie Dercksen, Lara Goodall, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Delmi Tucker.
Sri Lanka: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Oshadi Ranasinghe, Harshitha Samarawickrama, Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Anushka Sanjeewani, Kaushini Nuthyangana, Malsha Shehani, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandika Kumari, Achini Kulasuriya, Vishmi Gunaratne, Tharika Sewwandi, Ama Kanchana, Sathya Sandeepani.
Start: 7pm TV: SuperSport, SABC 3