Dane’ van Niekerk and her lieutenant Chloe Tryon have both been ruled out of the upcoming Pakistan series, leaving coach Hilton Moreeng to entrust Sune’ Luus with the armband
CAPE TOWN – The Indian Premier League has often been credited for the growth and development of men’s cricketers all around the world.
Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis is a case in point. Du Plessis regularly references the influence former India skipper and Chennai Super Kings master tactician Mahendra Singh Dhoni had on his leadership style.
It should therefore be no surprise that Proteas Women’s team stand-in captain Suné Luus would have learnt similar lessons from legendary former India captain Mithali Raj during their time together at the Velocity in the recent Women’s T20 Challenge played in the United Arab Emirates.
“Mithali’s been in the game for so long, been in various situations as a leader, so of course I tried to absorb as much from her as possible,” Luus said.
“But I also have a fantastic captain here at home in Dané (van Niekerk). She is unfortunately not with us for this series due to injury but she is always just a phone or video call away to assist with anything I need to ask.”
Van Niekerk and her lieutenant Chloe Tryon have both been ruled out of the upcoming Pakistan series, leaving coach Hilton Moreeng to entrust Luus with the armband. It’s not the first time Moreeng has pressed Luus’s button as the leg-spinning all-rounder also led the Proteas in their last series against Pakistan.
Although admitting its a “daunting task” stepping into Van Niekerk’s big shoes in the Proteas dressing room, the 25-year-old is comforted by the fact that the side still boasts the experience of Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail and Lizelle Lee to rely on in the heat of battle out in the middle.
Equally, the Proteas are a settled unit with the majority of the squad having been together for years under Moreeng’s guidance.
“My job is just to go out there and spin the coin and make the bowling changes,” she quipped.
“Seriously, though, I am fortunate that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities within the team structure. I don’t need to go changing the wheel altogether. It’s more about fostering the healthy atmosphere in the environment and channelling the excitement everyone has of finally returning to play. “
There’s no doubt the adrenaline will be at an all-time high in both dressing rooms when the first ball eventually gets bowled at Kingsmead on Wednesday.
Neither team has played any international cricket together since the T20 World Cup in Australia last year due to Covid-19.
It’s for this reason that Luus is taking nothing for granted right now, even though they need to contend with a secluded life in the bio-bubble.
“There was a time when we thought when were we ever going to play cricket again. That was tough,” Luus said.
“But we’re here and raring to go. For the first time we not even asking when are we going to have a day off training because we just happy to be out there. It’s going to be tough against Pakistan. They are a very under-rated team but we saw how they pushed us at home last year when we drew the ODI series.
“For us it’s about getting out there and doing the basics and getting back into the swing of things. And I’m sure the rest will take of itself”
Proteas Women’s ODI and T20 squad for Pakistan series
Suné Luus (captain), Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty (w/k), Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Lizelle Lee, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Nadine de Klerk, Tumi Sekhukhune, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Lara Goodall, Nondumiso Shangase, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Faye Tunnicliffe, Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits.
20 January: 1st ODI
23 January: 2nd ODI
26 January: 3rd ODI
*All matches to played at Kingsmead and start at 10am
29 January: 1st T20I
31 January: 2nd T20I
03 February: 3rd T20I
*All matches to played at Kingsmead and start at 3:30pm