'I see a massive difference, physically, mentally and emotionally.'
South Africa is sending arguably its most experienced team to the ICC Women’s World T20 in Australia next month, hoping to erase the bitter disappointments of past tournaments.
That element of experience is absolutely critical for Dané van Niekerk’s team. For the main core of the side, this year’s tournament Down Under, will be their seventh ICC event. For the likes of Van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Mignon du Preez and Shabnim Ismail, it has been a decade long journey together, which has led them to believe that this year they are capable of getting to the final and even winning the tournament.
“The work the team has put in is second to none,” Van Niekerk said yesterday. “They have made incredible strides and if you see how things have changed in the camp, since my injuries (last year), I see a massive difference, physically, mentally and emotionally. The experience gives us confidence.”
It’s not only international experience or all that time spent playing together, but also the fact that six members of this year’s squad – including Van Niekerk – are fresh off reasonably successful stints in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia, so they are also familiar with the conditions.
Dané van Niekerk (capt), Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Suné Luus, Chloe Tryon, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Tumi Sekhukhune, Trisha Chetty, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Nadine de Klerk, Nondumiso Shangase