Wednesday, February 8, 2023

CSA: Wolvaardt to make most of Tri-Series as part of World Cup preparations

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Uber-talented batter Laura Wolvaardt enjoyed an impressive year in 2022, but the studious opening batter remains determined to improve her T20 game. Wolvaardt is relishing the challenges posed by India and the West Indies during the T20 International Tri-Series in East London as she readies herself for the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup held in South Africa.  

The 23-year old has featured in the opening two matches against India and the Windies at Buffalo Park and will hope to continue her bright form at the crease throughout the series, beginning with their return fixture against the West Indies on Wednesday, 25 January at 15h00 (SAST).  

“This Tri-Series is really crucial for our preparation because we’re in South Africa, the country where (the World Cup is) happening and we’re coastal as well. I’m imagining the conditions will be pretty similar to what we’ll get in the actual World Cup,” Wolvaardt commented.  

“It’s good opponents too. India have improved a lot over the last couple of years in T20s and they’re a really strong side now, making finals of World Cups often. The West Indies are also a good side and we play them a lot, so it’ll be good to face up against them again. 

“It’ll be mostly just about working on our combinations and getting used to coastal conditions after coming off of the Big Bash, which was fast and bouncy. This will be a bit of an adjustment coming coastal, where it’s maybe a bit lower and slower, so I’m kind of just excited to spend some time out in the middle,” she added.  

Before the ongoing series, the top-order batter had an exciting and extensive 2022, which included a starring role at the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand, an appearance at the inaugural Cricket T20 tournament at the Commonwealth Games as well as participation in the various T20 leagues around the world.  

Wolvaardt recorded a career-best 882 runs in 18 One-Day International (ODI) innings during the calendar year to go with a standout average of 37.60 in eight outings in the shorter format. That form led to the Cape Town-born star playing a leading role in South Africa’s World Cup semi-final finish as well as in her Adelaide Striker’s championship-winning campaign in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia.  

Despite the stellar displays, Wolvaardt is eager to work on her batting, particularly in T20 cricket.  

“It was probably the busiest year of my career so far,” Wolvaardt continued. “I really enjoyed all of it though; playing in a bunch of different teams, playing cricket in a lot of different places, so I really enjoyed it. 

“(My T20 game has) come a long way since I started a couple of years ago. At first I was just purely an ODI player and my T20 cricket wasn’t working so well and I had to change a few things, had to gym a bit more to get a bit stronger. It’s still not where I want it to be, there’s still a bunch of things I want to add to my game but I am happy with the progress that I have made in the two to three years.  

“It was the most leagues I have played in a year. It was cool because I went to Fairbreak, the Indian Women’s T20 (IPL), the Big Bash and the Hundred. It’s just an awesome experience, being able to play with different people, see how different players go about their business, learning different conditions, being in different countries and getting exposed to different conditions as well as style of coaching and way of playing.  

“It helped me a lot in all aspects of my game, hopefully I can learn a few things from the tournaments and I enjoyed all of them. To finish the Big Bash with a win was lots of fun and I enjoyed my time over there,” Wolvaardt said.  

After the completion of the T20I Tri-Series in East London, Wolvaardt and the Momentum Proteas will switch their focus to the global spectacle that is the T20 World Cup taking place between 10 – 26 February.  

The opening game is set to be extra special for the Six Gun Grill Western Province batter as she hopes to be selected to walk out to thousands of fans on home soil, including numerous loved ones, at her hometown stadium of the Six Gun Grill Newlands Cricket Ground against Sri Lanka on 10 February.  

“It’s going to be incredible. I haven’t really played at Newlands for South Africa and only a handful of times for Western Province and it’s the most beautiful ground in the world. To be able to play there will be absolutely incredible; to just have it be a World Cup and have my family and friends there,” the batter explained.  

“To have it at home is really special. Our fingers are crossed all goes well and the day happens like I am hoping for. It’ll be a really cool experience. 

“We’re a bit of a young side, have a couple of changes now, with some key players retiring. For us it’s still going to be a case of wanting to go one step further and make the final. We’re a young group with some good energy and hopefully we can put on a good show at home,” she concluded.  

Momentum Proteas 17-player squad for T20I Series (vs India and West Indies):  

Suné Luus (Fidelity Titans) (Captain), Chloé Tryon (Hollywoodbets Dolphins) (Vice-Captain), Anneke Bosch (North West Dragons), Tazmin Brits (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Nadine de Klerk (Six Gun Grill Western Province), *Annerie Dercksen (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Lara Goodall (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Sinalo Jafta (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Ayabonga Khaka (DP World Lions), Masabata Klaas (North West Dragons), *Tebogo Macheke (Fidelity Titans), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Tumi Sekhukhune (DP World Lions), Delmi Tucker (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Six Gun Grill Western Province) 

*Uncapped Players 

T20I Tri-Series (South Africa, India, West Indies)  

Monday, 23 January 2023 – 19h00 SAST 

3rd Tri-Series T20I: India vs West Indies (Buffalo Park, East London) 

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 – 15h00 SAST 

4th Tri-Series T20I: South Africa vs West Indies (Buffalo Park, East London)   

Saturday, 28 January 2023 – 19h00 SAST 

5th Tri-Series T20I: South Africa vs India (Buffalo Park, East London)   

Monday, 30 January 2023 – 15h00 SAST 

6th Tri-Series T20I: West Indies vs India (Buffalo Park, East London)  

Thursday, 02 February 2023 – 15h00 SAST  

Tri-Series Final (Buffalo Park, East London) 

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