Proteas Women must be smart with bowling options in India, says Laura Wolvaardt

All-rounder Marizanne Kapp’s swing bowling will be vital for the Proteas Women attack in India. Photo: EPA

All-rounder Marizanne Kapp’s swing bowling will be vital for the Proteas Women attack in India. Photo: EPA

Published Jun 13, 2024


PROTEAS Women captain Laura Wolvaardt admits it is “a bit weird” to be on tour in India without long-serving coach Hilton Moreeng, but is really enjoying the “fresh ideas” that are coming to the fore.

Moreeng was an institution within the Proteas Women set-up, having enjoyed a 12-year tenure, serving as head coach in 279 international matches across all three formats.

The 46-year-old remains the only coach to lead a South African senior team to a major ICC tournament final when the Proteas finished runners-up at the Women’s T20 World Cup on home soil last year.

However, Moreeng’s final 12 months in charge were tumultuous due to a string of high-profile retirements, and Cricket South Africa (CSA) extending his contract virtually on a series-by-series basis after the T20 World Cup.

Equally, there was a growing sentiment among a group of remaining senior players that the team environment had become stale, with the management team in need of urgent rejuvenation.

CSA and Moreeng eventually parted ways at the beginning of last month, with bowling coach Dillon du Preez installed on a temporary basis for the tour to India.

In a further coaching shake-up, former Warriors assistant coach Baakier Abrahams also joined as the new batting coach.

“Obviously it’s been a bit different for us. Hilton has been on every single tour the last 11 years, so to not have him here is a bit weird,” Wolvaardt admitted at the arrival media engagement in Bengaluru yesterday.

“But luckily Dillon has been in the set-up for the last four, five years, so nothing has really changed too much from an operational point of view.

“We have tried to keep things as much as before, just so that everything is not completely new.

“But saying that, the new additions we do have in the group have brought some outside energy and fresh ideas, and I have really enjoyed it.”

The new management group will certainly need to address the team meetings with plenty of vigour, especially from a bowling perspective.

India boast some of the finest batters in the game, such as captain Harmeenpreet Kaur, opener Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh and Jemimah Rodrigues.

The Proteas can no longer call on speed merchant Shabnim Ismail, who broke the record for the fastest delivery in women’s cricket in the WIPL in India earlier this year, due to her international retirement.

Wolvaardt will instead have to rely on the swing of Marizanne Kapp and unerring accuracy of Ayabonga Khaka to keep the much-vaunted Indians in check.

“I think it’s definitely going to be a tour that tests our bowling line-up, especially if the wickets are going to be as flat as they were in the IPL,” Wolvaardt said.

“We will have to be very smart in our options, probably have a Plan B and Plan C.

“The Indian batters are batting very well at the moment – they are very explosive. I think planning will be key around our bowling attack.

“We do have the talent and the right people, but we just have to plan properly for each batter.”

The Proteas will have their first taste of the sub-continent conditions today when they face an Indian Board President’s Women XI in Bengaluru, ahead of the first one-day international at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday (10am SA time start).