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Have to be at our best to beat a world-class Indian team, says South Africa skipper Wolvaardt

12 Jun, 2024 19:40 IST|Sakshi Post

Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) South Africa skipper Laura Wolvaardt insisted her team will have to be at their best if they are to beat a ‘world-class’ Indian team in the upcoming multi-format series, ahead of their warm-up match against Board’s President XI on Thursday. South Africa will begin their tour of India with three ODIs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on June 16, 19 and 23, followed by a one-off Test and three T20Is at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The last time South Africa toured India; they won the five-match ODI series 4-1 in March 2021.

“We've had a couple of good tours before this where we sort of tried different combinations. In the T20Is against Sri Lanka, we definitely gave a bunch of youngsters some opportunity to try and put up their hand. If everyone is healthy and fit, we'll be looking to play our best 11. We won't be experimenting too much or taking this Indian side too lightly.”

“They're a world-class side and we're going to have to be at our best to beat them. So, trying to get everyone settled into their roles before the T20 World Cup is pretty important as well, with it being some of our last cricket that we're going to be playing before then,” said Laura in a pre-series press conference.

The tour to India is South Africa’s last international assignment before the Women’s T20 World Cup happens in Bangladesh from October 3-20. The three ODIs hold huge importance as they carry ICC Women’s Championship points, where South Africa are placed in the third spot and are in line for automatic qualification for the 2025 Women’s ODI World Cup in India.

“There's a lot that we're focusing on at the moment, obviously, with the ODIs having points up for grabs, the T20Is being in prep for the World Cup and then the Test match being pretty special too. We've tried to sort of cover everything and there isn't really one that's massively more important than the other. So, we'd like to do well all around and there isn't any format that we're taking lightly,” added Laura.

Asked what South Africa are aiming to achieve from the lone warm-up game, Laura remarked, “Warm-up games are always a tricky one. You don't want to do too well and get overconfident. But you always don't want to do too bad and start on the back foot. But I think tomorrow is mainly about conditions for us.”

“We're lucky to be playing on the ground where our games will be as well. That doesn't happen too often for a warm-up game. So conditions will be crucial to see how much it turns and bounces. It'll be more about that and making sure that the whole squad sort of gets a chance on the conditions and has a look of it.”

India are coming off after winning the T20I series in Bangladesh 5-0 and played in WPL 2024 in March, where Laura and her Proteas team-mates like Marizanne Kapp, and Nadine de Klerk featured in the five-team competition. Laura thinks the experience of playing in Bengaluru via WPL will come in handy in the ODI leg of the tour.

“The WPL was absolutely amazing and the amount of cricket that the Indian girls get to play over here is really cool. Luckily a few of us were able to play in the tournament as well. With myself being able to get a few games, I got used to the conditions and playing over here, which was nice.”

“They obviously have world-class players. So we've done a lot of sort of homework and discussion on that. So, hopefully, we have our plans sorted out by the first game. When I was here, it was a very nice wicket to bat on. So I'm not sure if it'll be similar at this time of year.”

Last year in November, Laura was confirmed as South Africa’s full-time captain after taking the job on a temporary basis. Quizzed about the impact of leading South Africa as a batter and human being, Laura admitted there has been a lot to learn for her.

“Firstly, there's been obviously on-field stuff - being just a batter before and having to learn a lot about bowlers and bowling plans has been quite a big eye-opener for me cricket-wise. It's helped me as a batter as well, as I'm starting to see the game more from a bowler's perspective and that sort of helps me when I'm out there in the middle.”

“Then in general life as well, I think it's helped me by forcing me to come out of my comfort zone a little bit. Usually, I'm quite a quiet reserved person and would sort of stick to myself. But you can't really do that when you're captain. So I have to sort of mingle and check in with people and be a bit more sociable than I used to be. So it's helped me grow as a person and as a cricketer as well, and it's been good so far.”

Importantly, the trip to India is South Africa's first series post the departure of long-serving coach Hilton Moreeng, who left after more than 11 years in charge. For now, Dillon du Preez is the interim coach.

“It's obviously been a bit different for us. Hilton was on every single tour for the past 11 years. So to not have him here is a bit weird. But luckily Dillon was in the setup and the environment for about four or five years. So nothing has really changed too much from sort of an operational point of view.”

“We still try to keep things as much the same as before, just so that it's not completely new and fresh. But then at the same time, the new additions that we have in the group have brought a lot of outside energy and some outside knowledge as well. So it's been good and I've really enjoyed the new, fresh people,” concluded Laura.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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