Suné Luus (c) celebtrates with teammate Dane van Niekerk (r) and Mignon du Preez (l) after taking the wicket of Amy Satterthwaite of New Zealand during the 2016 International ODI Womens cricket match. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - The confidence with which Sune Luus outlines the South African team’s goal for the Women’s World Cup illustrates a new found self-belief that’s flowing through the team.

“Definitely, we are going there to bring that cup home,” she says, with no hint of a smile nor a moment’s hesitation. “We say it every World Cup, but this year, everyone believes we are going to do it.”

That’s an important step for any elite sportsman – believing they can achieve something. For the South African Women, it was an element that was missing for many years, but as a younger generation, led by 21-year-old Luus, comes to the fore and relishes challenges against the biggest names in the game, so that belief grows.

Luus, named the SA Women’s Cricketer of the Year last weekend, has self-belief in spades. Added to that there’s a very high level of skill in her chosen craft – leg-spin bowling – while her batting has improved markedly in the past year. In that period Luus has also been named in the ICC Women’s T20 team following last year’s World Cup in India and was also named in the ICC Women’s ODI side.

Performing consistently - a genuine bugbear of coach Hilton Moreeng and skipper Dané van Niekerk - is being addressed within the team.

“We changed something at the beginning of the year,” says Luus, “we have a small WhatsApp group which all the girls are on.

“We changed the name from ‘The Momentum Proteas’ to ‘Train like champions’ and that’s really what we did. We really worked hard this season – every girl put in the effort, even in the gym – so that at this World Cup, we’ll perform more consistently.”

Luus’s overall ODI record is outstanding; she’s taken 67 wickets in 42 matches (average 18.94). She’s already picked up three ‘five-fors.’

Last season started quietly for Luus as she struggled to make an impression against New Zealand in a seven game series which South Africa lost 2-5, with Luus claiming just four wickets.

However, against the current world champions Australia, she was close to her best, finishing that five-match series as the leading wicket-taker with 10 scalps, while with the bat she notched up two half-centuries – one in the unfamiliar role as opener.

South Africa lost that series 4-0 in Australia, with one match tied and another won by two wickets by the hosts off the penultimate ball of the match, but it clearly showed the gap between the two teams had closed.

Luus and the rest of the South African team are currently playing a quadrangular tournament in Potchefstroom – against Zimbabwe, Ireland and India – as part of the preparations for the World Cup.

Following the tournament, South Africa will play two warm-up games in England against Australia and the West Indies. They will start their World Cup campaign against Pakistan at Grace Road in Leicester on June 25.


The Star

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