In what appears as a mixed-bag of news for one of the most talented and entertaining cricketing outfits in the women’s game- South Africa Women’s team– leg spinner and middle-order batswoman Sune Luus will lead the Proteas Women to the tour to India. Meanwhile, Dane van Niekerk is going to miss out on the entirety of the tour. As it is, Niekerk has been out for quite some time now.
While there’s unbridled enthusiasm regarding the skill and talent available to the Proteas women in the form of one of the most exciting modern-day women cricketers in Sune Luus, the fact that Dane van Niekerk, recently declared South Africa’s women cricketer of the year (2018), is going to miss out on the important bi-lateral series rings in some sadness.
Arguably, the finest exponent of leg-spin in the game, van Niekerk’s standing in the international arena is undoubted as a modern-day great of the game.
Not only are the Proteas Women going to miss out a handy top-order batswoman who can play all the big shots in the book, something which she contributes handsomely when needed from down the order, the India vs South Africa series, will see a match-winning leggie missing out in action.
On such an occasion, Sune Luus, who’s been leading the Proteas side nearly over a quarter of a year will be expected to raise the game and contribute wholesomely from both key departments of the game. While the Proteas will be aware of the challenge of facing a team as strong as India, the fact that the Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur-powered side are playing in their own conditions will increase the challenge (of countering India) every bit more, than usual!
South Africa’s leg-spinning all-rounder is inarguably, one of the finest all-round talents in the women’s game. Here’s some food for thought.While she’s yet to take her cricket to the peak of its performance in a fashion like Australia’s Ellyse Perry has, Sune Luus has tremendously risen in her stature in the game and is known for her talent to accumulate runs quickly.
When needed, the right-handed batswoman can even open the inning and play the big strokes from the word ‘go.’
The venerable ICC reported more on the development and shared the following:
Earlier in the year, Luus captained South Africa when van Niekerk missed the home T20I and ODI series against Pakistan through injury. South Africa won the T20I series 3-2 after the two teams drew the preceding ODI series. Van Niekerk recovered from injury to play in the recent Women’s Cricket Super League competition in England but injury has unfortunately ruled her out of another series for her country.
The upcoming tour will indeed be a fascinating occasion to witness an enthralling mix of Protean talent as a few players are all set to rejoin the ranks while some new faces are expected to join the side.
Elsewhere, there was a maiden call-up for left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba, while there were returns for Ayabonga Khaka and Trisha Chetty who both come back into the national set-up after lengthy spells on the sidelines through injury.
That said, there’s more to the waning fortunes of the Proteas women.
Perhaps a huge blow to the bowling strength of the side also comes in the form of pace bowling sensation Marizanne Kapp missing out on the T20 leg of the tour. With both Niekerk and Kapp out of the proceedings, there’ll be a lot of pressure on the rest of the bowlers to deliver against a team that plays spin just well as it handles the fast-bowling challenge. Perhaps, ideal time for Shabnim Ismail- among the fastest exponents of pace bowling in the game- to deliver big for South Africa?
Moreover, this will also be the first time that Sune Luus will lead the Proteas contingent to the heart of the sub-continent.