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Ken Borland

New captain misses out but SA women producing more depth 0

Posted on July 15, 2016 by Ken


Newly-appointed South African women’s cricket captain Dane’ van Niekerk will miss her team’s first engagement since her appointment as she and three other leading players will not be making the trip to Ireland for a four-match ODI and two-match T20 series in Dublin from 1-11 August.

All-rounder Van Niekerk, fast bowler Shabnim Ismail and batters Marizanne Kapp and Lizelle Lee are the current stars of the South African team and have, deservedly, won contracts to play the England Super League T20 competition.

This is a great opportunity for the country’s top women’s players, who are way behind the men and their own counterparts from places like England, Australia and New Zealand when it comes to being able to make a decent living out of cricket, and, given that the Irish invited the Proteas after they had already been given No Objection Certificates and signed contracts with the Super League, Cricket South Africa have wisely decided to allow them to honour their commitments in England.

The absence of the four stars will also, however, boost CSA’s efforts aimed at producing more depth in the women’s national team.

“We see this as a good opportunity to give our young, up-and-coming players some vital international experience,” coach Hilton Moreeng said. “This will help us with the depth of the side and it will be a good test to see what they have to offer, especially after campaigning for a place in the side for so long. All of them have represented South Africa before and will value the opportunity to play more cricket against a good Ireland side on foreign soil.”

The South Africans will have a well-travelled replacement captain in Dinesha Devnarain, who leads the KZN side and is also a leading coach, one of only eight women in the country with a Level III certificate.

There is still plenty of top-class talent in the side with former captain Mignon du Preez, Trisha Chetty, Ayabonga Khaka, Marcia Letsoalo, Chloe Tryon, Moseline Daniels and Sune Luus all included in the touring party.

Medium-pacer Letsoalo said there is a hunger in the side to ensure they do not make the same mistakes as last season.

“We can improve, we know what we’re capable of. We let ourselves down last season, we know the mistakes we made and we’re working hard not to repeat them. It boils down to preparation and fitness, and being able to execute. You have to be wise and able to perform in the game.

“Having a strong batting department is the key thing we have been working on at the centre of excellence academy, batting long hours, rectifying the mistakes and weaknesses. The bowlers must just keep doing what we’re doing,” Letsoalo said.


Team: Dinesha Devnarain (KZN), Trisha Chetty (Gauteng), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Lara Goodall (Boland), Ayabonga Khaka (Border), Yolani Fourie (Gauteng), Marcia Letsoalo (Northerns), Andrie Steyn (Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Masabata Klaas (Northerns), Chloe Tryon (KZN), Moseline Daniels (Boland), Suné Luus (Northerns), Odine Kirsten (Northerns).


Fixtures: 1 August – 1st T20I (YMCA); 3 August – 2nd T20I (YMCA); 5 August – 1st ODI (Merrion); 7 August – 2nd ODI (YMCA); 9 August – 3rd ODI (Malahide); 11 August – 4th ODI (The Hills).


Better-backed SA women’s team off to Sri Lanka 0

Posted on November 06, 2014 by Ken

The South African women’s cricket team’s rise from sixth to third in the international rankings is undoubtedly rooted in the better opportunities they now have since being sponsored by Momentum and Mignon du Preez’s side is off on tour again this weekend as they head to Sri Lanka for four ODIs and three T20s.

The women’s Proteas are battle-hardened from their tough tour of world number ones England last month and will want to show how far they have advanced from this time last year when they hosted Sri Lanka and won both the ODI and T20 series.

“We played brilliantly against them here at home, but it’s going to be a different ball game playing them now in their home conditions. Ideally, we want to make sure we improve on those results because it’s the start of the ICC Women’s Challenge and the points are important for us to finish in the top four and automatically qualify for the 2017 World Cup. So it’s one of our most important tours,” captain Du Preez told The Citizen yesterday.

Talented all-rounder Sune Luus has withdrawn from the South African squad because she will be writing her matric exams, but off-spinner Yolani Fourie, the captain of the SA Emerging Players team, has been called up for the first time by the senior side.

The responsibility will now fall on young Dane’ van Niekerk to be the main leg-spinner in the team, but Du Preez believes the pace bowlers will be the strength of the South Africans.

“The Sri Lankans are used to spin, they’ve often played two seamers and five spinners against us, so spin is what they know. But they’re not so used to the speed we can produce and I think our amazing seamers can do something special against them, plus we have swing bowlers too who can move the ball both ways,” Du Preez said.

The women’s Proteas arrive on the sub-continental island on Sunday and the first ODI is on Wednesday at the Sinhalese Sports Club.

Squad: Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Trisha Chetty, Moseline Daniels, Mignon du Preez, Yolani Fourie, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Lizelle Lee, Matshipi Letsoalo, Nadine Moodley, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon, Dane’ van Niekerk.


Changes in SA women’s cricket give Letsoalo plenty to smile about 0

Posted on September 05, 2014 by Ken

Matshipi ‘Marcia’ Letsoalo’s radiant smile ripped through the blueness of a Highveld winter’s morning as she considered how women’s cricket in South Africa has changed since she made her international debut in 2007.

“When I started playing for South Africa, support was lacking and it wasn’t easy. When I first heard I was about to play for the Proteas, I pictured us being in the limelight like the men’s team. But it was totally different, nobody knew we had a women’s team,” Letsoalo recalls.

“But we’ve made such progress, we now get so much and the publicity and media attention is good too. We’re definitely headed in the right direction.”

The 30-year-old medium-pacer was heading for England in a few hours when she spoke to The Pretoria News at the High Performance Centre at Tuks on Monday, with Momentum, the sponsors who have made such a difference to women’s cricket in South Africa, giving the national team a send-off before their three-match T20 series against the World Cup runners-up and two games versus Ireland.

Momentum have certainly put their money where their mouth is by extending the six central contracts they paid for last year to all 14 members of the national squad, while yesterday the announcement was also made that SuperSport have come on board and will provide live coverage of all three matches against England on September 1, 3 and 7.

“Oh wow, the pressure!” Letsoalo joked. “No, it’s exciting, it’s what we’ve always wanted to happen. It’s my dream come true to be able to call myself a professional cricketer, from 2007 it’s what I’ve dreamt of. I’ve been working hard and finally got the reward, so it’s superb.

“My grandmother and other relatives have never seen me play cricket, so now that it’s on TV, it’s a great opportunity for them to do that,” the South African Air Force employee says.

Born in Phalaborwa, Letsoalo had to come down to Pretoria, enrolling at Tshwane North College for a management diploma, for her to make her cricket dreams come true. Women’s cricket in Limpopo in the early 2000s was very much at a fledgling level, so she spent her formative years playing with schoolboys in informal games.

“When I was 13, I saw a men’s game on TV, I had only seen cricket on TV. So I started played with the boys on the street and my passion grew for the game.

“I started playing for Foskor Cricket Club, but even then it was only with boys. But I never stopped because of my love for the sport,” Letsoalo says.

She finally experienced cricket without the boys when she started playing for the Limpopo U19 provincial team, but she admits she came to Pretoria both for study and cricketing purposes. Joining Atteridgeville Cricket Club, she was soon invited to Northerns trials and she was firmly on the road to the international stage.

Someone with Letsoalo’s sheer passion, determination and infectious enthusiasm is very difficult to keep down, and she soon won over her family, who were sceptical at first about her life choices.

“They weren’t very happy with me playing cricket, they used to say ‘It’s not safe with the boys!’ But they saw there was no stopping me and I just kept going. Eventually they realised that cricket is my passion in life,” she recalls.

A nagging medium-pacer who is more of a seam bowler than a swing merchant, Letsoalo says she is inspired by a pair of South African pace bowling legends – Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock.

Both of them achieved a great deal of success in England and, although South Africa’s women have never beaten them, Letsoalo says the team is looking forward to testing themselves against top-class opposition.

“Conditions should be similar to here and we’re looking forward to the tour as a group. We want competitive cricket, we’re not going to stress too much about the results, but rather focus on implementing what we’ve learnt here at the academy, where we’ve been having a camp. We’re not going to play the names.”

A senior player now with 72 appearances across the three formats for the Proteas, Letsoalo is a bundle of good energy for a team that is definitely moving forward. She didn’t stand still in Phalaborwa, making the life-changing move to Pretoria, and she is eager that the national team do the same.

“I would love to see us in the top two women’s cricket nations in the world. We made the top four in the Women’s World T20 earlier this year, so we are preparing to see if we can make the top two in the 2017 World Cup,” the player who just loves cricket says.


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