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Ken Borland



Proteas had a toe-hold in the series … and then a mass of bad fortune 0

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.

Proteas look to marry batting basics with more dashing strokeplay 0

Posted on August 16, 2022 by Ken

Following their historic one-off Test against England, the Proteas Women now begin their preparations for the ODI and T20 series that will be played over the next two weeks, and will be looking to marry the batting basics they showed in the longer format with the more dashing strokeplay required against the white ball.

Star batter Laura Wolvaardt is probably not alone in being quite pleased to return to what she is more used to facing.

“The red ball was very tough to face, it was quite a challenge up front,” Wolvaardt said. “And there were some very tough conditions to deal with too, plus the Duke ball does a lot more than we’re used to.

“So I had to concentrate on leaving a lot of balls, which I’m not used to, especially since so much of my game is about cover-drives and going after wide balls. So it was quite a mental challenge as well.

“Test batting is all about technique and getting in strong positions, and the basics stay the same, so it’s good I’ve done that work ahead of the white-ball games and hopefully my timing will be there.

“It also helps having faced their bowlers in tough situations, and hopefully the white ball doesn’t do as much. But the ODIs are a format we enjoy and we’re very good at it,” Wolvaardt said.

The South African bowlers have also borne a heavy burden, but the chance to avenge their semi-final loss to England in the World Cup at the end of March is no doubt going to motivate and energise the squad.

“It was a big effort from our bowlers. Marizanne Kapp scored an incredible 150 and then bowled 16 overs the next day, and Nadine de Klerk bowled 23 overs in one day.

“But we are all very excited for the white-ball series. We’ve had a mixed bag of results against England recently: we won the first game against them at the World Cup but then we were very disappointed to lose the semi-final.

“Hopefully we can get a bit of payback for the semi-final. It feels like a long time ago, but it was still this year that it happened,” Wolvaardt said.

The first ODI in the three-match series will be played next Monday in Northampton.

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