The Proteas women can’t wait for the chance to take to the field and represent Team SA at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
South Africa will face New Zealand on Saturday in their opening game in Group B at Edgbaston.
After a difficult tour of England, where they drew the only Test and lost both the T20 and ODI series, the Proteas are hoping for a change in fortune as cricket returns to the Commonwealth Games for the first time since 1998.
At the Kuala Lumpur Games, the men’s team led by Shaun Pollock took home the gold medal in the 50-over tournament, beating Australia in the final.
Proteas all-rounder and vice-captain Chloe Tryon says she is looking forward to the unique experience the Games will offer them.
“We are very excited. When we heard the news that women’s cricket is competing in the Commonwealth Games, we were all excited about it. Being Team South Africa and representing them will be fantastic,” said Tryon.
“We’re excited about the experience; the girls are eager to get out and play again. We had a few days off to get ready and put on Team South Africa’s clothes and to represent.”
Proteas coach Hilton Moreen thinks the tournament will be tough and predicts an exciting battle.
“The fact that it’s T20 cricket makes it closer and makes it difficult,” he said.
“These teams we play against are all dangerous. We recently played against England on a tour, and because of that we know what they are capable of. We know that New Zealand has very dangerous players, and even Sri Lanka is not a team where you can get rid of right away.
“So, on the day in T20 cricket, you have to be on your feet and very sharp, and the good thing for us is that we have the match fitness and sharpness needed to go into the Games. (When it comes to) preparation and making sure everyone gets playing time, we’re very happy about that.”
While their preparation for the tournament was not the best from a results perspective, Moreeng knows that the Proteas can beat any team on their day.
“If we can shoot in all disciplines that we know we can do and be as consistent as possible with the bat because it’s only 120 balls, anything can happen,” said Moreeng.
“We have to stay in the moment, stay focused and work extremely hard because we know opportunities will come on the field, our bowling unit always creates that. It’s about taking our chances.
“We know if we can give ourselves a chance to get out of the group we can take it from there. They’ve played enough knockout cricket, they’ve been to the semi-finals and they know what it takes to get there.” to come.
“In terms of the experience and the youth we have in the squad now, it’s well balanced, and now it’s up to them to show that we still have a chance to go all the way.”
The Birmingham T20 cricket event is also the first time women’s cricket has been involved in the Commonwealth Games.
Tryon believes this event will be a remarkable leap forward in the growth of the women’s game and make it a truly global sport.
“We always want to grow the women’s game. We want more cricket to be played. Having the Commonwealth Games will be important to us,” Tryon said.
“We’ve always said we want to leave a legacy. We want to make sure we play a lot of cricket, and we’re growing this game as much as we can and we want people to watch a lot of cricket too, so we hope we can reduce the crowds too can get.
“It will be fantastic to be at this event and we hope that from now on we will have more T20 cricket for women around the world.”
Play on Saturday is at 12:00 Dutch time.