Women’s cricket team Proteas head to their first Test match in eight years – and only their 13th overall – at Taunton on Monday when they take on the team with the most experience in the format: England.
Monday’s historic encounter will be England’s third Test in just over a year and they have played 97 in all. Most of their squad was involved in an Ashes Test against Australia in January.
South Africa’s preparations for what is truly a daunting step into the unknown have been rocked by the injury-induced unavailability of top fast bowler Shabnim Ismail (calf fatigue) and all-rounder Chloe Tryon (hip ). The in-form Ayabonga Khaka will also not play as she declared herself unavailable for the test cricket before the start of the tour.
“We would have liked to have had these three seniors, with their experience and skills, but it’s not a big setback,” captain Sune Luus said on Sunday.
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“We still have a very good team, the youngsters have shown they can step up in the last rounds we have played and I have full confidence in them. The team is the future of South African cricket” , added Luus.
“It’s our first test in eight years and we’re going to make the most of it as much as possible. We’re winning the red ball from the Dukes for the first time and we’re delighted to have this opportunity.
“Test cricket hasn’t always been the most important thing for women’s cricket, but hopefully we can play more of it in the future,” Luus said.
Range of skills required
Successfully playing Test Cricket will require a range of skills from a Proteas team that is very inexperienced in long-playing.
“It’s all new for us in the test matches and we’re very excited,” said Luus. “We don’t really know what Test cricket is and how it’s done, but it will be a good challenge for our skills.
“You have to concentrate for long stretches and you have to be on top of your game. We worked on our game plans and what is needed at certain times.
“It’s going to be a work in progress, we’re going to go session by session, we’ll learn all the time. It will be a great introduction and opportunity.
“It’s a real honor to wear our Test caps for the first time. There will be a lot of Test debuts and it will be a special day for us,” said Luus.
The game starts at 12 p.m. SA time