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Ken Borland

Proteas had a toe-hold in the series … and then a mass of bad fortune

Posted on September 06, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas Women’s team began their tour of England five weeks ago and their brave draw in the one-off Test seemingly gave them a toe-hold in the multi-format series. But since then it has been a mass of bad fortune and a litany of defeats, which does not augur well for their chances in the Commonwealth Games starting this weekend in Birmingham.

South Africa arrived in England with talk of competing on all fronts, having beaten their hosts in the T20 World Cup earlier in the year before the tables were turned on them in the semifinals. Sadly, there is little doubt that the Proteas have regressed since then, while England have powered on to new heights with a rejuvenated team introducing exciting new blood.

The Proteas have lost both the ODI and T20 series 3-0 since then, but there have been mitigating factors.

Regular captain Dane van Niekerk has still not returned to play since November last year, and key players like fast bowler Shabnim Ismail and all-rounder Chloe Tryon have also struggled with injuries. The shock retirement of Lizelle Lee, on the eve of the ODI series, must have been a damaging mental blow for the team and it is doubtful that it does not speak to some sort of cultural issues within the squad.

And now Marizanne Kapp, who has been turning in massive performances game-after-game, is back home, ruled out of the Commonwealth Games, due to a family emergency in which her brother-in-law suffered serious burns.

While it would be unwise to make a meal of the recent results given these setbacks, questions need to be asked about whether the pipeline is delivering the quality that is needed for South Africa to remain one of the top sides.

It has not helped that senior players like stand-in captain Sune Luus, stalwart batter Mignon du Preez and 33-year-old bowling spearhead Ismail have not enjoyed good tours.

It is turning into a very long tour for the Proteas Women and they need to pull things together with haste to ensure the wheels don’t come off properly in the Commonwealth Games. Coach Hilton Moreeng will need all his powers of inspiration to put this squad back together again.

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