JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Wednesday announced three new caps in the SA women’s squad that will tour the West Indies from September 10 to October 6.
National Academy graduates Tumi Sekhukhune, Saarah Smith and Robin Searle will embark on their first international tour when the SA take on the Windies in a three-match One-Day International (ODI) and five-match T20 International series in Barbados and Trinidad.
The trio were selected at the conclusion of the third annual CSA North vs South competition in Pretoria where 26 of the country’s most promising cricketers were assembled for a gruelling three days of competitive T20s.
National Convenor of Selectors Clinton du Preez, is pleased with the balance of the team that the panel have gone with after an extensive debrief of the recently concluded England tour where South Africa suffered a 3-1 ODI series loss and disappointment in the T20 triangular series that included New Zealand.
With the 2018 ICC World T20 also taking place in the Windies this November, it was important for the selectors to ensure they continued building up towards to the tournament and provide coach Hilton Moreeng the right personnel for the notoriously tough conditions.
“As a selection panel, we conducted a debrief from the England tour and also the successful Bangladesh tour prior to that. We discovered that there were a few areas where the team were falling short and we realised we had to look at different options and different types of skill-sets to try and set ourselves up well for the West Indies tour with the World Cup not far behind after that,” he said.
With T20 cricket taking up most teams’ attention ahead of the World Cup, Du Preez has stressed that South Africa are still keeping a keen eye on their progress in the One-Day game as they continue to target direct qualification into the 2021 ICC World Cup in New Zealand. The ODI series will form part of the ICC Women’s Championship (IWC) with crucial points up for grabs.
“We can’t lose focus on the IWC because that allows for qualification into the World Cup 2021, so we need make sure we are still giving ODI cricket the attention it deserves,” he went on.
Ayabonga Khaka has been ruled out of the tour after undergoing shoulder surgery. She will be out for four to six weeks as she targets a return to action in the World T20. Other team movements see the return of veteran wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty.
“We have always got very high hopes with every tour that comes along, especially with this West Indies tour coming along so close to the World T20. We have not settled on our final World Cup squad yet, we’re still looking at one or two other combinations,” Du Preez concluded.
The SA women’s squad to the West Indies is:
Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Lizelle Lee (North West), Suné Luus (Northerns), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng), Masabata Klaas (North West), Zintle Mali (Border), Trisha Chetty (Gauteng), Robyn Searle (Gauteng), Tumi Sekhukhune (Easterns), Saarah Smith (Western Province)
The tour schedule in the West Indies is:
Sunday, 16 September: 1st IWC ODI – Kensington Oval
Wednesday, 19 September: 2nd IWC ODI – Kensington Oval
Saturday, 22 September: 3rd IWC ODI – Kensington Oval
Monday, 24 September: 1st T20I – Kensington Oval
Friday, 28 September: 2nd T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Sunday, 30 September: 3rd T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Wednesday, 03 October: 4th T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Saturday, 06 October: 5th T20I – Brian Lara Cricket Academy
African News Agency (ANA)