Johannesburg – The South African Under-19 women’s team’s head coach, Dinesha Devnarain, said she was pleased by the rapid change in mindset from the players named in the World Cup squad on Tuesday and hopes the accelerated development continues in the next few weeks ahead of the tournament.
Oluhle Siyo from the Gauteng Lions will lead the team at the inaugural World Cup, which will take place in Benoni and Potchefstroom in January next year. “I’ve tried to replicate a high performance environment, where you put them through what they wouldn’t normally go through in school cricket or provincial cricket,” Devnarain explained.
“I focused a lot on mindset – changing techniques or stuff like that takes a longer time and we have a World Cup around the corner – so it was about (creating) a new mindset that asks: how do we want to express ourselves as cricketers? We created performance benchmarks, a style of play that we want to play leading up to the World Cup. When I look at the Under-19 cricket from a year ago compared to now, I feel they’ve grown immensely, in terms of their technical work, the mental aspect and the way they talk cricket.”
The side will participate in the Women’s Super League, a T20 tournament involving some of the country’s top players that will take place in Cape Town next week.
“It’s similar to what we did with the Under-19 men’s team last season when we put them in the T20 Knockout Challenge against the senior provincial teams. They lost all the games last season and this season they won the Division 2 title,” said Cricket SA’s High-Performance Manager, Vincent Barnes.
Devnarain acknowledged that she was more nervous at the prospect of her players facing senior professionals than her players were. “They have a good understanding of what to expect, but they’re excited knowing that they’ll be able to learn important lessons.”
South Africa will also play five T20 matches against India as part of their preparations and any notion India won’t be taking the tournament seriously were evaporated when they named the explosive Shafali Verma, who has already made her mark on the senior international game, as their captain for the World Cup.
The tournament consists of 16 teams, which have been divided into four groups of four. South Africa is in the same group as India and open their tournament against the Indians on January 14 at Willowmoore Park.
SA U19 WOMEN’S SQUAD FOR THE ICC U19 WOMEN’S T20 WORLD CUP
Elandri Janse Van Rensburg (North West), Simone Lourens (Titans Cricket), Anica Swart (North West), Karabo Meso (Lions Cricket), Madison Landsman (VC) (Easterns), Oluhle Siyo (Lions Cricket, capt), Kayla Reyneke (Western Province), Jenna Evans (Lions Cricket), Miane Smit (Free State), Ayanda Hlubi (KZN Coastal), Seshnie Naidu (KZN Coastal), Refilwe Moncho (Lions Cricket), Mona Lisa Legodi (Titans Cricket), Nthabiseng Nini (North West), Jemma Botha (Western Province).
Non Travelling Reserves:
Caitlin Wyngaard (Western Province), Diara Ramlakan (Lions Cricket).
Dinesha Devnarain (Head Coach), Angélique Taai (Assistant Coach), Matshipi Letsoalo (Manageress), Sheenagh Jordaan (Physiotherapist), Stacey Hercules (Strength and Conditioning), Adele van Eck (Video Analyst), Dhavina Naidoo (Team Doctor).