CAPE TOWN – Sweeping changes have been made to the Proteas Women’s team after their disastrous World T20 campaign in the Caribbean towards the end of last year.
Having entered the tournament with big aspirations, Dané van Niekerk’s team failed to navigate their way through the first round and were unable 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 series as well as a three-match ICC Women’s Championship One-Day International series across four venues.
Opening batsman Laura Wolvaardt, all-rounder Suné Luus, 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 SA Emerging team have convinced the selectors to give her another call-up as they begin the search for the 2020 T20 World Cup squad.
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 World Cup direct qualification campaign.
Fast bowler Ayabonga Khaka is still in the midst of her post-shoulder surgery rehabilitation programme and was not considered for selection, while off-spinner Ntozakhe continues the remodelling of her bowling action.
“Looking into the upcoming Sri Lanka series, we as selectors did a debrief of the World Cup and looked at certain areas that we need to strengthen and looked at different options that will impact the game.
“We’ve gone and focused 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 these 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.
“It’s good to see that we are retaining the core of our players within the squad, and are also giving the opportunity to some younger players.
“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, she needs a bit of work with the necessary coaches just to make sure that we get her back to speed (with the bat).
“Her bowling obviously plays a massive role, so we would need to see how she comes back after playing a few provincial games and preparing for the Pakistan series.
Our South African international @SuneLuus catches up with @lynny50 ahead of tonight's BBL blockbuster at the Gabba and Saturday's WBBL Semi-Final in Sydney!#WBBL04 #BringTheHeat #BBL08 pic.twitter.com/wkat4GWoRn— Brisbane Heat WBBL (@HeatWBBL) January 17, 2019
“Our focus needs to be on both formats. We’re quite excited at the moment, the selectors are quite happy, the coaches are really keen to look at the strategic change and how we take on the challenge.”
The squad will gather for a pre-tour camp from Saturday 26 January in Cape Town.
South Africa T20 Squad
Dané van Niekerk (captain), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain), Lizelle Lee, Tazmin Brits, Mignon du Preez, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Saarah Smith, Tumi Sekhukhune, Zintle Mali, Faye Tunnicliffe (wk), Masabata Klaas, Nadine de Klerk.
South Africa ODI Squad
Dané van Niekerk (captain), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain), Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Mignon du Preez, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Saarah Smith, Tumi Sekhukhune, Zintle Mali, Faye Tunnicliffe (wk), Masabata Klaas, Andrie Steyn.@ZaahierAdams