South Africa

CRICKET

Proteas women look to ride a post-World Cup wave

Proteas women look to ride a post-World Cup wave
Nadine De Klerk of South Africa (R) celebrates with Dane Van Niekerk (L) after taking the wicket of Beth Mooney of Australia during the Women's T20 World Cup semi-final match between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney, Australia, 05 March 2020. (Photo: EPA/DAN HIMBRECHTS)

After the disappointment of falling short once more, the Proteas women are preparing to dust themselves off and push for that elusive World Cup trophy.

“I know we’re going to win a World Cup, that there’s no doubt in my mind. So, it’s just about when.”

These were the words of Proteas Women’s cricket team captain, Dane van Niekerk on Saturday, 7 March.

She was speaking at a press conference held at OR Tambo International Airport after the team had returned from their T20 World Cup journey – where they were eliminated in the semifinals by hosts and eventual champions, Australia.

This was the second time the team had fallen agonisingly short of reaching the final and getting a shot at the trophy. 

The same fate befell them in 2014 when they were emphatically beaten by England, losing by nine wickets.

The backbone of the present team featured in that 2014 World Cup. After that performance of being so close, yet so far, the team did some intense introspection.

Six years and three World Cups later, they have some of the best players in world cricket.

“We’re always going to remember you for making the breakthrough to ensure that we don’t just participate, but we compete… cricket is in a better place. And women’s cricket has indeed made leaps and bounds on the international stage,” noted Cricket South Africa (CSA) vice president, Beresford Williams.

These sentiments were echoed by CSA’s Pathways Manager, Edward Khoza.

“The generation before you played for nothing – but you can play for something,” commented Khoza.

Van Niekerk took a moment to reminisce about where it all began.

“From where we started, everybody can vouch, you played for the love of the game. You just got on to that park and enjoyed the game,” she said. 

“The ultimate goal for us is to set up women’s cricket for the generations to come. And the only way we can do that is to inspire by performance and what we do on the field,” Van Niekerk said.

Despite the huge strides that have been made up to this point, there is still some way to go to ensure that professional structures at the level below the national team are set up in women’s cricket. A matter that Proteas coach Hilton Moreeng said was under discussion.  

“There are a lot of discussions around that point. And we know that in the future it should be happening, and as soon as that happens, it can just make us stronger as a country because we’ve caught up with the world now,” Moreen said.

Captain Van Niekerk was then at pains to highlight that as much as they appreciated how much their exploits might have inspired little girls to believe in a future where they could pursue cricket as a career, ultimately, they didn’t want their appeal to be boxed in.

“It’s not just about girls. We want boys and men to enjoy women’s cricket as well, for what it is. We want to inspire girls because that will pump the pipeline, but we want the whole of South Africa to enjoy women’s cricket. And that’s what we’re trying to do, make it an attractive brand of cricket,” said the skipper.

In the short term, the team will shift their attention to welcoming the newly crowned T20 world champions, Australia, in two weeks’ time. The teams will play three One Day Internationals and three T20s.

After that, the team will embark on a tour of England in early September 2020 as they sharpen up for the 50-over World Cup which will be held in New Zealand, beginning in February 2021.

Here they will attempt to clinch that elusive World Cup.

“As a team, the most important thing for us, from where we’re sitting, is we have to stay in competitive mode to the next World Cup. So there have been a couple of tours that have been lined up to make sure that we learn from it,” said coach Moreeng. DM

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.