South Africa women cricketers hope to turn the tables on India
Hard to find, a genuine all-rounder has always been key to a cricket team’s fortunes at all levels. With almost 2,000 runs and 147 wickets in the limited-overs formats for her country, Sune Luus, stand-in skipper of the South Africa women’s team, has already proved her potential as a team leader. At home this year, she led the side to a 5-1 series drubbing of Pakistan, including a 3-0 rout in the ODIs.
A right-handed bat and match-winning leg-spinner, Luus is out to prove her worth for the side again, ahead of next year’s World Cup at New Zealand, by challenging India in an eight-match limited-overs series, starting with an ODI on March 7 at Lucknow’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana International Stadium.
Luus got the chance to lead the Proteas against Pakistan when regular skipper Dane van Niekerk, and senior all-rounder Chloe Tryon, were injured. Luus cashed in on the opportunities, leading the side to massive success.
Ready to take on India, Luus feels the Proteas have an edge because the hosts have not played international cricket since the Twenty20 World Cup final defeat in Australia last year. The only worry for the 25-year-old is that South Africa know little about the playing conditions like the pitch.
“Coming to India is always exciting. We’re never sure what to expect when we get here. For this trip, we’ve never played at the ground, we don’t know what it looks like or what the conditions will be like. It will be the same for India as well. So, I think it’s going to be an even contest,” Luus said on Monday.
“They have players like Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and all those players who we know are top quality,” said Luus. “But we are well-prepared. We’ve also had game-time. I don’t think they’ve had that which I’m hoping will be an advantage for us. After having no cricket for nearly a year to have two tours in quick succession is really exciting.”
The all-rounder says the five-match ODI series will serve well to prepare for the World Cup in New Zealand around the same time in 2022. “It really helps… the more cricket we play the better it will be for us come the finals in New Zealand. Every match we play we need to capitalise on.”
South Africa women last toured India in 2019 when they lost both the ODI series (3-0) as well as the T20Is (3-1). “It’s always tough in India and it’s definitely going to be tough again,” Luus said. “We have five ODIs and three T20Is with a quick turnaround between games, which in itself is tough. The opponents are very competitive players.
“We have the likes of (pacers) Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail and all the rest back again. Many of the players are also in form at the moment, which is what you need when you go to India.”
The Proteas women, who arrived two days behind schedule, are currently in six-day quarantine, which will be followed by two days of training. “The only practice match scheduled for March 4 has been cancelled and now the South Africa team would start training on Friday,” Ekana Sportz Citys media manager, Gaurav said on Monday.