“We’ll be looking to play our best side,” says Laura Wolvaardt for the T20I series against India

During the ongoing South Africa tour of India, spanning from June 16 to July 9, the hosts dominated with a clean sweep in the 3-match One-Day International (ODI) series and a comfortable 10-wicket victory in the one-off Test in the final session on day 4. The focus now shifts to the shorter format of the game with a 3-match T20 International (T20I) series scheduled from July 5th to 9th at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

We'll be looking to play our best side, says Laura Wolvaardt for the T20I series against India
We’ll be looking to play our best side, says Laura Wolvaardt for the T20I series against India

Ahead of the 1st T20I, South Africa captain Laura Wolvaardt, discussed how South Africa is focusing on refining their spin strategies in the upcoming three T20Is. This preparation is with an eye on the T20 World Cup in October, considering the conditions expected during the event in Bangladesh.

Wolvaardt highlighted that it is a good time for South Africa to experiment using more spin in the powerplay or at the death.

“It’s a good time to maybe see if we could perhaps use a bit more spin in the powerplay or at the death,” captain Laura Wolvaardt said on how South Africa are looking to refine their spin plans in the three upcoming T20Is.

Wolvaardt highlighted that traditionally, the team employs a lot of spin in the middle overs, but now they are considering experimenting with different strategies. Wolvaardt noted that India would likely play many spinners and perhaps only one or two pacers, bowling spin throughout the innings. Wolvaardt said that they could also try this, depending on the day’s conditions and how spin-friendly they are.

Quoting Laura, “Traditionally we use a lot of spin in the middle, but it could be a good time to experiment with one or two things. India will probably play a lot of spinners [and] maybe only one or two pacers, so they’ll probably bowl spin throughout the innings, which is something we could try as well. But yeah, it depends on the day and how the conditions unfold and how spin-friendly it is out there.”

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She mentioned they are “pretty close” to their ideal lineup, noting that in an ideal situation, Marizanne Kapp, who hasn’t bowled on this tour, would also be bowling. With Chloe back in the team and assuming there are no injuries, they should have everyone on board.

“We’re pretty close,” the 25-year-old said. “Obviously, in an ideal world, Marizanne would also be bowling, but other than that I think we should have everyone on board. Having Chloe back as well it should be as close, barring any injuries, touchwood.”

Wolvaardt explained that they plan to field their strongest XI and refine strategies they can carry into the World Cup, whether it involves bowling options or the batting line-up. They aim to solidify different combinations and make definitive decisions. Wolvaardt mentioned that the previous T20 series allowed them to experiment and provide opportunities to younger players, but for this series, their focus is on playing the best and most probable World Cup squad.

Laura said, “It’s one of our last dress rehearsals before the big occasion. So, I think we’ll be looking to play as strong an XI as we can and to have plans that we can take to the World Cup. Whether they be bowling options or the batting line-up, just try and nail down different combinations. I think we’ve had a few T20 series in the last couple of tours where we’ve sort of tried one or two things and given some youngsters an opportunity. But for this one, we’ll be looking to play our best side and the most likely side to be playing in the World Cup.”

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Wolvaardt emphasized the need for the batting unit to find an extra 10 or 20 runs. Reflecting on the Australia series, where they consistently reached scores of 150-160, she highlighted that with the current state of the game and flat wickets, teams are now scoring 180-200, especially in such conditions. She noted the high scores in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) as an example. Additionally, she stressed the importance of being more clinical and consistent with the ball. Acknowledging the evolving nature of the game, Wolvaardt called for the team to remain brave and continue playing positive cricket.

Wolvaardt shared her thoughts on the challenges of switching between formats, noting the difficulty of adapting to Test cricket and then transitioning back to T20. She mentioned that her net session wasn’t the best, as she was trying to overhit the ball and get into T20 mode by trying to whack everything. However, she acknowledged that many of the basics still apply, emphasizing that playing late and getting into good positions, as practised in Test cricket, are also important in T20 cricket.

Wolvaardt shared that she had a productive conversation with the batting coach about not getting too ahead of herself, especially considering it’s T20 cricket. She emphasized that good cricket shots would still bring value in runs on the wicket, even in T20 cricket. Wolvaardt highlighted the importance of not getting too ahead of themselves, recognizing that T20 is a format they know and play very often. She stressed that they should play the way they always do and avoid trying to force it too early.

(Quotes sourced from Cricbuzz)

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