Three uncapped players have been included in the 15-strong squad for South Africa’s tour of the Caribbean, which should serve as ideal preparation for this November’s World T20, which takes place in the same region.
Tumi Sekhukhune, Saarah Smith and Robin Searle are the three new players who have been included, with their performances at the national academy and in the third annual CSA North vs South series helping to advance their claims.
“It was quite a nice challenge that we faced when it came to making that final decision,” said national convenor of selectors Clinton du Preez. “We conducted the North vs South tournament which gave us an extra indication as to which players we could look at in our search for those extra skill-sets. It was a great exercise, we picked up a few players that have showed a lot of intent and potential, this is a really good opportunity for them to showcase their talent in the West Indies tour.
“Robyn Searle came and played something out of the ordinary during the North vs South tournament. “She had a really good time at the national academy and she’s played some great knocks which has put her in good stead as she’s challenged for a place in the national team.
“Saarah Smith has come on board and shown a lot of intent in the national academy as well. She’s really pushed for her place and we’re looking forward to seeing what she’ll bring to the national side.
“Tumi (Sekhukhune) has used the opportunities that she has received in her two seasons at the national academy and shown tremendous growth and maturity in a short period of time and we’re interested to see how she will take to this new challenge in the national team.”
Ayabonga Khaka has been ruled out of the tour after undergoing shoulder surgery. She will be out for four to six weeks as she targets a return to action in the World T20. Veteran wicket-keeper Trisha Chetty has also been recalled after missing South Africa’s tour of England, with du Preez keen to emphasise that nothing is set in stone ahead of the World T20.
“As a selection panel, we conducted a debrief from the England tour and also the successful Bangladesh tour prior to that,” he said. “We discovered that there were a few areas where the team were falling short and we realized we had to look at different options and different types of skill-sets to try and set ourselves up well for the West Indies tour with the World Cup not far behind after that.
“We have always got very high hopes with every tour that comes along, especially with this West Indies tour coming along so close to the World T20. We have not settled on our final World Cup squad yet, we’re still looking at one or two other combinations.”
South Africa’s next major goal is doing as well as they can in the World T20, but with the three ODIs comprising part of the International Women’s Championship, they are keen not to lose sight of the bigger picture.
“We can’t lose focus on the IWC because that allows for qualification into the World Cup 2021, so we need make sure we are still giving ODI cricket the attention it deserves.”
The first game of the ODI series takes place on Sunday 16 September, with the tour concluding three weeks later on Saturday 6 October.
Squad: Dané van Niekerk (c), Chloe Tryon, Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Suné Luus, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Masabata Klaas, Zintle Mali, Trisha Chetty, Robyn Searle, Tumi Sekhukhune, Saarah Smith