Women’s World Cup 2022 – Lizelle Lee returns as South Africa announce experience-laden squad



Suné Luus will continue leading the side in the absence of the injured Dané van Niekerk, with Chloe Tryon as her deputy

Suné Luus will captain South Africa at the Women’s World Cup with Chloe Tryon as her deputy. The 15-player group includes all the regular names who have done duty over several years, with the only notable absentee being Dané van Niekerk, who was ruled out with an ankle fracture. Luus has led in van Niekerk’s absence before and is currently in charge of the team in their series against West Indies.
The rest of the squad apart from Lizelle Lee have all done duty in the ongoing series against West Indies, and are regulars on the international stage. Lee was ruled out of those matches as she recovered from Covid-19 and has been passed fit to join the squad and travel to New Zealand. That means South Africa’s squad is filled with experience. Mignon du Preez, Trisha Chetty, Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail all have more than 100 ODI caps to their names while Lee (93) and Luus (91) could reach that milestone at the World Cup. Tryon has 82 ODI caps, while Laura Wolvaardt and Ayabonga Khaka, their leading run-scorer and wicket-taker in the ongoing series against West Indies, have each played more than 50 matches. Their least experienced player Tazmin Brits has played six matches.
Top-order batter Anneke Bosch, lower-order allrounder Nadine de Klerk and offspinner Raisibe Ntozakhe, who made her international comeback on Thursday after a break of more than three years as a result of being reported for a suspect bowling action, will travel as reserves.

South Africa, along with Australia, England and India, were automatic qualifiers to the World Cup after beating New Zealand in New Zealand in early 2020. They are currently ranked second, behind Australia, in Women’s ODIs and had their best finish at a World Cup in 2017, when they reached the semi-finals. Since then, South Africa have played 42 ODIs, won 27 and lost 10, and have claimed series wins over Bangladesh, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and West Indies. They have won their last four series and are among the favourites for the upcoming tournament.

“The squad was not just brought together in the last few months, it’s a process that we commenced in 2017 and we identified certain areas that we needed to strengthen. There were strategic selections made through various camps and tours that we’ve had and played prior to this,” Clinton du Preez, the women’s convenor of selectors, said. “In 2020, when we went to New Zealand, we clinched the ODI series and from there that just set the tone for us to go and push on for the ODI World Cup and I think it is important that all the hard work has been put in, including the selections for the playing conditions that we see ourselves facing. Our team is ready to compete, and our team is ready to go further than just the semi-final berth and go and try and clinch the World Cup.”

South Africa have one more competitive match before they depart for New Zealand, which will be played on Sunday against West Indies. The fixture is a decider, with the series locked at 1-all after the first game was washed out. Luus said the conditions, which have been dominated by wet weather, have been difficult to score freely in, and have favoured slower bowling, are perfect preparation for New Zealand. “I know there is a lot of rain in New Zealand in most places where we are going so I think this is an ideal situation for us,” she said. “I don’t think we can get any better preparation. The tougher it gets for us the easier it will possibly be when we get to New Zealand.”

South Africa’s first match of the Women’s World Cup is against Bangladesh on March 4.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent


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