JOHANNESBURG – Nadine de Klerk has just turned 19 and has played a total of 12 international matches, but she is setting an example, not just to teammates but the coaching staff and the selection panel, of the kind of fearlessness the South African women’s team need to show in 2019.
De Klerk held her nerve in the final few overs of what had become a tricky chase at the Wanderers last Sunday to help the Proteas to a series win against Sri Lanka. In the final T20 on Wednesday she charged in with the ball and took three wickets as South Africa won with greater ease to wrap up a 3-0 clean sweep.
De Klerk’s play in the last two matches fits in with a general brand which the national side is trying to employ. Adopting a new and aggressive style is the result of months of reflection following a poor showing at the World T20 in the West Indies last year.
This new brand, which skipper Dane van Niekerk pointed out meant putting the badge ahead of personal ambition, has a practical side that has served as a warning to many of the established players in the side.
Following the World T20, Hilton Moreeng and his coaching staff felt the need to implement more stringent fitness standards for the players.
The most notable player not to buy into the new way forward is Lizelle Lee, who was promptly axed from the squad ahead of the T20s against Sri Lanka and won’t play any part in the crucial ODI series which starts in Potchefstroom on Monday.
“She’s been given a programme to help her (get back to the standards we demand) but she won’t be part of the ODIs,” said Moreeng.
Van Nierkerk acknowledged that Lee’s axing came as a shock, especially as she’d been one of the side’s form players in a poor 2018.
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However, it was a decision that displayed the kind of ruthlessness – and indeed, fearlessness – that the coaching staff and the selectors need to show if the Proteas are to become a better team.
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