Moreeng’s exit chance to breathe new life into Proteas Women

After over a decade in charge of the Proteas Women as coach, Hilton Moreeng stepped down from the role last week. | BackpagePix

After over a decade in charge of the Proteas Women as coach, Hilton Moreeng stepped down from the role last week. | BackpagePix

Published May 14, 2024



THE Proteas Women’s World Cup preparations could take an interesting turn without long-serving coach Hilton Moreeng, after he ended a tenure of more than 11 years last week.

Building a “positive and stable environment for the team” has been the most often used statement in the past few days, as the Proteas Women look ahead to a fresh start.

The tour to India in June will be the first under new management, and although only temporary, Dillon du Preez will have the chance to prove his worth with Cricket South Africa set to name a new coach before the Women’s T20 World Cup.

Dillon du Preez, seen here playing for the Knights in 2017, will take over the coaching reins of the Proteas Women on an interim basis. | BackpagePix

Moreeng’s exit, ahead of the global showpiece in October, ends a tenure that has seen him take charge of 279 matches across all three formats. He won 84 ODIs out of 149 and 60 T20I encounters out of 127.

It’s a record that might seem imbalanced but considering the growth of women’s cricket with the limited resources available to him, and the lack of competitive women’s cricket in the country for most of his tenure, he did fairly well.

A different direction, however, was always inevitable.

There could be testing times ahead for a team that has promised so much, especially in the past few years, despite having nothing to show for it. There was, arguably, a T20 final loss as hosts against Australia, two World Cup semi-final losses against England, and maybe a historic ODI win away against a strong Australian side, but not much more.

On the flip side, Moreeng’s departure could also be an opportunity. As much as there has been promise, consistency has been lacking.

Before Moreeng stepped down, it was becoming increasingly evident that the growth of years prior was starting to become stagnant. As a result, the Proteas have fallen behind heavyweights Australia and England.

There is no doubt that in his 11 years, he achieved much in aiding that growth in the country, while many of the players thrived under his leadership. But with the other nations making big strides forward, South Africa needed change.

The recent inbound tour against Sri Lanka left more questions than answers, the island nation walking away a historic 2-1 T20 series win. The loss meant that the Proteas won only four of their 17 matches in that format this season – an unwanted record in a World Cup year.

Looking ahead, Du Preez will have the tough task of leading the Proteas in India on a tour that will comprise all three formats.

The World Cup will also be hosted in the subcontinent and this offers the 42-year-old a golden opportunity to test his team against a spin-dominant side on low and slow wickets, like what they will find in Bangladesh later in the year.

The outcome of the tour is not only crucial for the Proteas, but also for Du Preez and his future with the team moving in a new direction. An impressive tour could well help his case.