The cricket season may be winding down for most participants in South African cricket but the SA women’s team have just one more challenge to face before they can call a break to their preparations for the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka this September.
The England Women’s Academy squad landed on South African shores on Sunday for their three-match ODI and T20 series against the national team in Potchefstroom in the North West.
The ODI series, which commences this Friday, 13 April, will be the first international match the hosts will play after qualifying for the ICC Women’s World T20 last November in Bangladesh but neither the time lapse between international matches, nor the date of the match are giving the team cause for concern.
Captain, Mignon du Preez, who is still riding on the confidence of her Provincial side, Northerns, having won the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Women’s Provincial League title on the weekend, is excited to be re-united with the national squad.
“It really is awesome to be back with the national team, we have such a close bond and it’s great to be playing for a common goal this time as opposed to being against one another for the Provincial League.
“We are really looking forward to playing the England Academy on Friday, the date has no meaning to us, we are here to represent our country and there is no room for superstitions,” she commented.
The team arrived in Potchefstroom on Monday to begin preparations for the tour. Practice time for the team has been impeded by the local Women’s League but, for coach Yashin Ebrahim-Hassen, there is no better practice than time out in the middle.
“We have a big year and a half or so to look forward to,” he said. “We are preparing for two World Cups and tours like this are like gold to us because we have such limited international exposure. Dates like ‘Friday the thirteenth’ hold very little relevance to a team that has so much to prepare and play for.
“I’m very happy with the individual performances of my players during the Women’s League which supplied invaluable game time and match practice for the team,” continued Ebrahim-Hassen. “It is also a delight to see that the majority of them represented the top four teams which took part in the semis and then of course, the final.”
A greater emphasis has been put into the preparation for the T20 international series as a form of preparation for the World T20 later on this year.
“As a squad, we do not get much exposure in T20 cricket and this tour will go a long way in showing us how much further we still have to go in terms of preparation for the World T20.
“We have an exciting group of players with some new and old faces and I can’t wait to see what the balance we have selected has in store for us. The England Academy side are very tough and we look forward to facing the challenge head-on,” Ebrahim-Hassen concluded.
The ODI series will take place from 13 to 17 April and the T20 series from 20 to 22 April. All matches will be played at Senwes Park Stadium in Potchefstroom.