“The most important for us is to look at where the squad is and where everyone needs to be before we can leave Buffalo Park. Once we are happy with what we are seeing with most of the players, then we can look into and worrying about the World Cup. With every preparation, every game that we’ve had, even the practice matches that we had, the World Cup has always been the bigger picture, but we realized that it is one day at the time,” Momentum Proteas head coach Hilton Moreeng commented.
Beginning with the Women’s T20I Tri-Series final against India on Thursday, he believes his team is prepared to face the obstacles that will come before and during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup South Africa 2023. The finals begin at 3 p.m. at Buffalo Park in East London, and SuperSport Cricket will carry live coverage of the whole event.
On Wednesday, Moreeng spoke to the media after the Proteas Women’s squad for the T20 World Cup on home soil was revealed and before the current Tri-Series came to an end. The 45-year-old, who was also celebrating his birthday that day, spoke on a number of topics, including the composition of the squad that was chosen, the final against India, and the anticipation of hosting a major international competition.
“We have a (Tri-Series) final against India, where in the first game we didn’t start well. You could see the rustiness from the players, that competitive edge was not where it was supposed to be because of the break that we had but it has been an upward curve for the squad and we’re very happy to see how the team is moving in the right direction in these conditions. It is just about making sure now that we can finish off well and take the momentum into the World Cup,” he added.
After the Tri-Series, Moreeng and his Proteas Women team will relocate to their base in Stellenbosch to complete their World Cup preparations before the tournament begins on Friday, February 10 at the Six Gun Grill Newlands Cricket Ground with a match against Sri Lanka.
Moreeng is supporting his side’s lived experience, notably in recent global ICC events, and claims the squad is aware of what would be needed to spearhead, even if it will be in the unusual setting of a World Cup on home soil. The team is literally living the expectations of a whole nation.
“For us it goes without saying; you’re playing at home, you have an opportunity to win a World Cup in front of your home supporters, that is what every player in the squad has been speaking about for the last year and a half,” he noted and further pounded on the fact, “It’s conditions that most of us are familiar with and we want to give ourselves the best chance. The first hurdle for us is to make sure we get through the group stages and get ourselves in the knockout stages and then we can take it from there.”
“We have enough experience. Most of the core players that are currently in the squad have been to the World Cup, they have experienced these semi-finals and they know what is required going forward,” the coach added.
The 15-player World Cup squad and the absence of the all-rounder Dané van Niekerk was the main of the talks during the presser. The 29-year-old failed to meet the team’s minimal physical requirements which turned to be her oust from the team. While expressing sympathy for the player, Moreeng emphasized the value of the team concentrating on the future as they get ready to face the rest of the world on South African soil.
“It’s been tough on everyone and the player that I know will be very disappointed because of what has transpired. But at end of the day, we as a team, we need to move on, and we know we’ve got a final that we need to focus on tomorrow. Overall, the team has been working hard and yes, these kinds of disappointments are one of those things in sport that you deal with and at end of day, we need to move on as a team,” Moreeng added.
Momentum Proteas 17-player squad for T20I Series (v India and West Indies):
Suné Luus (Fidelity Titans) (Captain)
Chloé Tryon (Hollywoodbets Dolphins) (Vice-Captain)
Anneke Bosch (North West Dragons)
Tazmin Brits (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers)
Nadine de Klerk (Six Gun Grill Western Province)
Annerie Dercksen (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers)
Lara Goodall (Six Gun Grill Western Province)
Shabnim Ismail (Hollywoodbets Dolphins)
Sinalo Jafta (Six Gun Grill Western Province)
Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province)
Ayabonga Khaka (DP World Lions)
Masabata Klaas (North West Dragons)
Tebogo Macheke (Fidelity Titans)
Nonkululeko Mlaba (Hollywoodbets Dolphins)
Tumi Sekhukhune (DP World Lions)
Delmi Tucker (Six Gun Grill Western Province)
Laura Wolvaardt (Six Gun Grill Western Province)