CAPE TOWN - It was only a few hours ago that women’s cricket powerhouses Australia and England completed a rousing 16-match multi-format Ashes series.
Ultimately, it came to a thrilling climax in Canberra with England’s Danni Wyatt matching Australia’s Beth Mooney’s 117 not out with a magnificent maiden T20 century of her own to level the series 8-all.
England are, of course, the current ICC women’s world champions, having won the title in thrilling final at Lord’s earlier this year, while Australia were losing semi-finalists.
This is in complete contrast to the other two semi-finalists, though, with South Africa and India having been dormant since the World Cup with particularly the Proteas being spotted sitting in the stands at the RamSlam T20 matches around the country while others are playing state cricket in Australia.
But Proteas women’s coach Hilton Moreeng is not too perturbed about the lack of action for his team and in fact believes they will be better off for it.
“I think before the World Cup we had a two-year cycle where the girls played a lot of cricket. If I am not mistaken we were the team that played the most cricket. For us, it was important that after the World Cup with all the intensity the players had endured, to actually have some downtime and refresh the batteries,” said Moreeng.
“We also had a very productive intake at the academy in the interim. It helps build the base. From there on they can start pushing for a place in the national side. The players at the top must know there are players pushing up from the bottom, and that in turn helps them improve their games.”
South Africa and India will come out of hibernation only in February when they meet in a three-match ODI series followed by a five-match T20I series that forms part of preparations for next year’s World T20 in the Caribbean.
Moreeng is excited about the opportunity of facing Mithali Raj’s team, who came within a whisker of winning their maiden ICC World Cup title earlier this year.
“Since the ICC have developed the league, teams have become very competitive because you play quite often against each other. Even the level of skill has improved. Players know what to expect. For us to be competitive, we have to play very good cricket because they are World Cup runners-up.
“We have had great contests against them in recent times where we narrowly lost in two finals. It will be great to play them in our conditions,” Moreeng explained.
The Proteas women’s team are also scheduled to tour England in June and July next year when they play the hosts in a three-match ODI series followed by a four-match T20 International triangular which will include New Zealand.
All of the matches in the ODI series will form part of the ICC Women’s Championship, the qualifying tournament for the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup.