‘Surprise package’ South Africa targets place in top four
Captain Loubser says victory against the West Indies is ‘non-negotiable’ and she believes England will be the most dangerous team in the World Cup
South Africa is aiming for a top-four finish in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 to be staged in Australia from 7 to 22 March and newly appointed captain Sunette Loubser says preparations to achieve the target started immediately after the World Cup in 2005.
South Africa is pooled with holder Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies in Group A while India, England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are in Group B. The top three sides in each group will go forward to the Super Six stage where each side then plays the teams which have qualified from the other group. The top two sides from the Super Six go forward to the final.
South Africa opens its World Cup campaign against the West Indies on Sunday 8 March at Newcastle No. 1 Sports Ground and a win over Merissa Aguilleira’s side would boost its chances of taking a big step forward in achieving the objective.
“A win against the West Indies is non-negotiable. Our target is definitely a top-four finish and we can achieve that target by going game by game. We have to stay focused on the game in hand and continue to play disciplined cricket.
“The process for the selection of the current team had started after the last World Cup in 2005 in South Africa. Certain roles and standards were laid down and everyone in the squad knew what they had to do as regards fitness, skills, strike-rate and so on, in order to be included into a certain position or role in the team.
“We have also prepared ourselves by focusing on our own skills more than anything else and working towards each role that we want to achieve within the team. We also attended camps as often as possible to evaluate where we were in achieving goals that was set out for certain dates,” said Loubser, the 26-year-old all-rounder from Paarl who has played in one Test and 14 ODIs.
If South Africa meets its target of finishing in the top four, it will qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 to be staged in India. The fifth and sixth-place teams in Australia will go into the 10-team ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2011 where they will be joined by eight other sides (two each from Africa and Europe and one each from the Americas and East Asia-Pacific Region) which will qualify from their regional qualifying tournaments.
Loubser, however, admitted her team was short of match practice as South Africa played only nine ODIs in 2008 and 20 between the two World Cups. “I think the difference between South Africa and other teams is the fewer number of international matches we have played but one of our mottos is ‘control the controllable’.
“I think Australia and New Zealand will have a slight advantage over the rest of the teams as they have just finished the Rose Bowl Series which will give them the momentum to go in the World Cup.”
South Africa has some good experience in its ranks with Cri-Zelda Brits, Susanna Benade, Shandra Fritz, Ashlyn Kilowen, Alicia Smith, Claire Terblanche and Charlize van der Westhuizen will be making their second World Cup appearances.
Reflecting on that experience, Loubser said: “It is always a good thing to have quality experience in your side for an event of this importance but I think the most important aspect of a successful team is every player takes the responsibility and rises to the occasion.
“We come as a team and not as individuals. Everyone in the team is there for a reason. We have players with experience, as well as young, talented players who are all ready and willing to take up this opportunity.”
Loubser takes over the reins from Brits who had inspired South Africa to victory in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in February last year. Showing great respect for the 25-year-old veteran of four Tests and 38 ODIs, Loubser said: “I’m not replacing Cri-Zelda as she still plays a huge role in this team and remains the centre-point of all our future planning.
“I believe in Cri-Zelda very much as a player and a person. I respect everything she did as captain and I plan to continue building on the foundation that was laid down by her.
“It is a great honour to captain my country in the pinnacle of the women’s game and I just can’t wait for the opportunity of leading the side on to the field.
“It will be a different tournament from the previous ones and a lot tougher too with the PowerPlays entering the games and all the other regulations that make up ODIs.”
According to Loubser, Australia is the pre-tournament favourite, England is the most dangerous side and South Africa is the surprise package. “Australia is favourite as it is defending its title on home soil while England has been playing exceptional cricket for the last couple of years. We will be the surprise package as we have the talent and capabilities to perform and deliver in a pressure tournament like the World Cup.”
Loubser said besides the glamour, the spectators should expect exciting and fascinating contests. “Women’s cricket will be at its highest quality in the World Cup.”
Loubser is also excited by the television element in the World Cup with ESPN STAR covering all seven matches that will take place at North Sydney Oval, including the final. “I do think that media coverage plays a massive role in promoting women’s cricket and live coverage of the World Cup is a good tool to make more people aware of it. I am sure ESPN STAR Sports’ coverage will give people a better idea of women’s cricket’s standards.”
SOUTH AFRICA – Sunette Loubser (captain), Alicia Smith (vice-captain), Susan Benade, Cri-Zelda Brits, Trisha Chetty, Mignon du Preez, Shandre Fritz, Shabnin Ismail, Ashlyn Kilowan, Marcia Letsoalo, Charlize van der Westhuizen, Yolandi van der Westhuizen, Dane van Niekerk, Claire Terblanche, Marizanne Kapp.
The event logo and more details on ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 can be found at:
Note to editors:
The following is a provisional list of media releases and other information that will be issued in the build-up to and during the ICC Women’s World Cup, which will be held from 7 to 22 March in Australia.
Sunday 22 February – England captain’s interview
Monday 23 February – Sri Lanka captain’s interview
Tuesday 24 February – West Indies captain’s interview
Wednesday 25 February– Pakistan captain’s interview
Thursday 26 February – Former players talking about the World Cup
Friday 27 February – Group A preview (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies)
Friday 27 February – Advisory on pre-event media activities
Saturday 28 February – Group B preview (India, England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan)
Sunday 1 March – Former World Cup captains supporting their teams, wishing them good luck
Sunday 1 March – Release on television element to the World Cup
Monday 2 March—Results of warm-up matches (West Indies v New South Wales (NSW), Old Kings; Australia v England, Village Green)
Tuesday 3 March – Results of warm-up matches (New Zealand v Pakistan, Manly; Sri Lanka v NSW, Old Kings; India v South Africa, Raby 1)
Wednesday 4 March – Results of warm-up matches (Australia v Sri Lanka, Manly; India v New Zealand, Old Kings; England v West Indies, Raby 1; Pakistan v South Africa, Green Village)
Thursday 5 March– General preview, tournament statistics/history/previous winners, opening ceremony release and photograph of all the participating teams.
Friday 6 March – Reliance Mobile ICC Women’s ODI Rankings release
Friday 6 March – Release on players being briefed on anti-corruption.
Saturday 7 March to Thursday 12 March – During the group stage short-form scores will be sent out with a round-up of the day’s play (concentrating on one game in particular) along with a link to the full scorecards on the website. Also, quotes from feature game if possible.
Friday 13 March – Round-up of group stage, look ahead to the Super Six stage, Reliance Mobile ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings release post-group stage and looking ahead at the Super Six and the final.
Saturday 14 March to Thursday 19 March – During the Super Six stage short-form scores will be sent out with a round-up of the day’s play (concentrating on one game in particular) along with a link to the full scorecards on the website, preview of the third-fourth place and fifth-sixth place play-off matches. Also, quotes from the feature game if possible.
Friday 21 March – Preview of the final, photograph of the two captains with Trophy
Sunday 22 March – Scores and report from the final, including quotes from winning and losing captains/coaches
Monday 23 March – Review of tournament and photograph of the winning captain with Trophy and player of the final with Trophy.
Monday 23 March – Reliance Mobile ICC Women’s ODI Rankings post World Cup
Previously released articles:
Wednesday 29 October – ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 launch release
Friday 26 December – Media accreditation release
Tuesday 13 January – Provisional squads release
Monday 9 February – Announcement of all eight squads
Tuesday 11 February – Release on history of Women’s World Cup
Thursday 12 February – Release on double century, hat-tricks and tied matches
Monday 16 February – Advisory on trophy images available for free download
Tuesday 17 February – Release on South Africa player replacement
Wednesday 18 February – Release on West Indies player replacement
Wednesday 18 February – Australia captain Karen Rolton’s interview
Thursday 19 February– India captain Jhulan Goswami’s interview
Friday 20 February – New Zealand captain Haidee Tiffen’s interview
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Name: Sami Ul Hasan
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