CAPE TOWN – The Proteas Women’s team have made sweeping changes after their disastrous World T20 campaign in the Caribbean towards the end of last year.
Having entered the tournament with big aspirations, Dane van Niekerk’s team failed to navigate their way through the first round and failed to qualify for the knockout stages.
Four senior players have been dropped for the incoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will comprise a three-match T20 International series as well as a three-match ICC Championship One-Day series across four venues.
Opening batsman Laura Wolvaardt, all-rounder Sune Luis, spinner Raisibe Ntozakhe and veteran wicket-taker Trisha Chetty have all dropped out, with Faye Tunnicliffe, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk and Lara Goodall returning at their expense. Western Province’s Saarah Smith also makes a return after recovering from a fractured finger during the World T20.
Goodall has not seen international action since taking part in the World Cup Qualifiers in early 2017, but her efforts over the past two seasons for her province, in the National Academy as well as the South Africa Emerging team have convinced the selectors to give her another call-up.
Brits and De Klerk’s last international appearances were in June and February 2018 respectively, the latter taking the remainder of the year off to complete her matric year.
While Wolvaardt has been retained for the ODI series, Andrie Steyn, Goodall and Tunnicliffe have been included ahead of Luus and the still-injured Chetty as South Africa look to add six vital points towards their 2021 ICC World Cup direct qualification campaign.
Fast bowler Ayabonga Khaka is in a post shoulder surgery rehabilitation programme and was not considered for selection, while off-spinner Ntozakhe continues her bowling action re-model.
“We’ve gone and focussed on the two different formats and two different skill sets and grouped players together with the hope that we will get a good return with the impact that they can make in recent games, especially on the T20 front,” said convenor of selectors Clinton du Preez.
“The likes of Tazmin Brits and Nadine de Klerk could really make an impact on the middle order, the two of them have had a really good provincial season thus far. Saarah Smith coming back from injury as a batter who can add some spin value to the team is something we’re looking forward to and in the 50-over format, Andrie Steyn is coming in on the back of some good innings at provincial level.
“Suné Luus unfortunately misses out on the back of some disappointing performances.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how she comes back, she can still add a lot of value. Her bowling obviously plays a massive role, so we would need to see how she comes back after playing a few provincial games.
“For now, it’s important that we focus and we plan for the upcoming T20 World Cup next year and also the one in 2022 and in between that, we have the 50-over World Cup. Our focus needs to be on both formats.
“We’re happy for the players coming in and taking the opportunities and we’re looking forward to seeing how they face their new challenges.”@ZaahierAdams