Hilton Moreeng wants more players in knockouts of top T20 leagues

Hilton Moreeng wants more players in knockouts of top T20 leagues

South Africa coach Hilton Moreeng. © Women's CricZone

South Africa coach Hilton Moreeng wants more players to play in the semi-finals and finals of the various top leagues in the world and share that with the rest of their teammates in the national setup. With a busy schedule on the horizon, the head coach wants those performances to be transferred to the international stage.

“With us going into these big events now, you want players who have experience of semi-finals and finals, and you want that to rub off on the rest of the players,” Moreeng was quoted as saying to iol.co.za. Shabnim Ismail won the recently-concluded Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) playing for Sydney Thunder while Mignon du Preez was a part of the runners-up Melbourne Stars squad.

The duo thus joins Lizelle Lee, Dane Van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp as the Proteas who have played in finals of major franchise T20 tournaments. Van Niekerk and Kapp were part of the Sydney Sixers side that won the 2017 WBBL, while in 2018, Lee was named player of the final after scoring a century to help the Surrey Stars annex the Super League T20 tournament in England.

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“So that is something we want to do, get into the last two, we’ve been in the last four, three times recently, now it’s to get into the last two more often and we’ll need those players to do that for their teams and if we have four or five players do that on a consistent basis then we will be on the right track,” he added.

“The most important thing for us was they could play cricket. We had 10 players exposed to competitive cricket, which is a good number for us.” Apart from Ismail and Du Preez, Van Niekerk, Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Nadine de Klerk, Lee and Laura Wolvaardt were a part of WBBL06. Another two players, Sune Luus and Ayabonga Khaka played in the Women’s T20 Challenge in Dubai.

In the T20 World Cup earlier this year, South Africa finished in the semi-finals, and now go into the 2022 50-over World Cup and 2023 T20 World Cup at home as natural contenders. With the ODI World Cup priority now, South Africa are slated to tour England next year while series against the likes of West Indies, India and Pakistan are understood to be in the line.

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The demands of ‘bio-secure bubbles’, it will also mean there needs to more players than usual 15 or 18, which has been the practice now post COVID-19. “If we have to pick 24 players we can compete, it’s from player 25 onwards that we have a problem. The gap is way too big,” said Moreeng.

The 42-year-old also stressed the fact that the players need to learn from the country’s stars playing alongside them in the domestic Women’s Super League, which is starting from December 14. The draft took place last week.

“We need to start sustaining what we’ve achieved so far with the current crop of players, so the youngsters need to start pushing the players who are established now,” he added. “Hopefully we can get more players in the WBBL, the England tournament, IPL … it will be good for us to have a similar tournament.

“You look at the countries that have played in finals recently, England, Australia, India … these countries have the leagues … if we can get that kind of competition going here, with our experienced players around our youngsters, that will be a big step in the right direction,” said the coach.