Focussing on the basics and achieving greater consistency are key for South Africa Women in their upcoming series in the Caribbean, feels coach Hilton Moreeng.
South Africa Women have been training hard in Barbados for the three-match ICC Women's Championship one-day international series, which will be followed by five Twenty20 Internationals. The start has been good – a 135-run win over an invitational side in a side game.
Congratulations to the Proteas on a comprehensive, 135-run win over Barbados. THANK YOU ladies for the great game. Next stop, the Windies this Sunday in the first ODI. #WomensWarmUppic.twitter.com/36iEktjHAa— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) September 13, 2018
"We’re very excited," said Moreeng ahead of the first ODI, to be played on Sunday, 16 September. "The last two days have been good for us. We had extreme heat on day one and you could see a few players were under pressure regarding it, and they realised these are conditions that they have to acclimatise to.
"We’re very happy we were able to come earlier to be able to prepare for that. The second day saw a bit of rain disruption but at the end of the day were able to get some practice in which was very good in preparation for our warm-up game.
"Yes, wickets and conditions are very different from what we’re used to, so it’s very important for each and every player to be given an opportunity to prepare and get time in the middle."
Moreeng is happy about the introduction of four new faces – Faye Tunnicliffe, Saarah Smith, Tumi Sekhukhune and Robyn Searle – in the squad, saying, "With the senior players that we have and the youngsters coming in, it is good to see how well they have gelled.
"For them (youngsters), it’s a blessing to come into such an experienced team. The seniors have been very helpful in showing them around and helping them at training. We’ve been very impressed with what we’ve seen from them skills-wise. Overall as a team, I think we’ve got a very good balance and we know that we’re up against a dangerous team who on their day, but we back ourselves with the skills that we have in this squad."
We have a good opportunity to make history by winning an ODI series here but it’s going to require us to focus extremely hard on our basics
South Africa, one spot below the Windies at No.6 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's Team Rankings, have never won an ODI series in the West Indies and they will be looking to change that record. "The mood in the camp is very good and positive and everyone is looking forward to the first game. We have a good opportunity to make history by winning an ODI series here but it’s going to require us to focus extremely hard on our basics," stressed Moreeng.
The South Africa coach added that playing at home, the Windies side would give the visitors a very tough competition.
"They are a very strong side. Playing on home soil, they are a very proud team. We know that it’s going to be a difficult tour because they play well under their conditions. They are also very well led by the experience of Stefanie Taylor so no, you can’t take them lightly."
This ODI series is very critical for both teams in terms of direct qualification for the ICC Women's World Cup 2021.
Moreeng believes his side has shown improvement in recent times but will need to work on their "inconsistency problem".
"The players have worked hard. I think we have let ourselves down as far as results are concerned. For us now, it’s a matter of working at improving our inconsistency problem, it’s something we speak a lot about in the changeroom, in team meetings," he said.
Focused! As we prepare for the upcoming 3 ODIs and 5 T20i matches of the Sandals International Home Series vs South Africa Women in Barbados and Trinidad.— WINDIES Women (@windieswomen) September 9, 2018
Visit https://t.co/ZVQUu5deR0 for schedule and ticket details. #ItsOurGame#WindiesCricket#ThisIsWhyWIPlaypic.twitter.com/Ot6Ngtj4BN
"We need to see a lot more clinical performances more often than not because recently we’ve seen that we play good cricket in patches and for us to get ourselves in the top three (IWC log) there needs to be more good days than bad days.
"Senior players need to put up their hands and take responsibility. With the squad that we have, we should be able to compete and successfully beat West Indies and win the series."
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