Pakistan series serves perfect opportunity to test ourselves: Hilton Moreeng

South Africa head coach Hilton Moreeng. © Cricket365

South Africa will return to international cricket after more than ten months when they face Pakistan at home in a six-match series comprising of three ODIs and three T20Is starting on January 20 in Durban.

Regular skipper Dane van Niekerk and allrounder Chloe Tryon won’t be available for selection due to the injuries they sustained last year.

All the members of the training squad underwent COVDI-19 tests ahead of the first training session and their results were returned negative. The players will undergo one final test on January 18 ahead of the first ODI.

Head coach Hilton Moreeng welcomed the chance to return to competitive cricket after a long gap and talked about the importance of finding the feet quickly in the series.

“Firstly, for us it has been a year since the team has had a chance to get ready for competitive cricket post our camps and we are happy that everyone in the group is here and we can start discussing our preparations for Pakistan,” said Moreeng, while speaking at a media interaction on Monday (January 11).

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“The importance of this series is to ensure that we find our feet very quickly back into the demands of international cricket and our visitors offer us that opportunity.”

42-year-old Moreeng expressed his happiness with the way the players have been shaping up and credited the support staff for the work they have put in getting the players ready.

“The fitness test has gone well with the players and we are impressed with the fitness levels of our squad considering the lengthy break. We want to give a big thanks to the entire medical staff that has worked around the clock to ensure our players are ready and acclimatizing well into the bubble,” he said.

“Thus far the squad is good spirits, happy to be back given the opportunity to do what they love and we as the technical team have to make sure that the players are ready when the matches start.”

Moreeng, who has been coaching South Africa women since 2012, said Pakistan are a competitive unit and the series will help South Africa to prepare for the Cricket World Cup scheduled to be played in New Zealand in 2021.

“The opposition will most definitely offer us a challenge and as a technical team that is what we want to get our ladies back into their peak,” he said.

“Pakistan women are a competitive unit, especially in the T20 format and are the perfect side to give us a measurement of where we are especially with us having our eyes on next year’s world cup.”

South Africa last played international cricket during the T20 World Cup in Australia in March 2020 where they finished as the semi-finalists losing the second semi-final to the eventual champions Australia.

Training Squad: Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Sune Luus, Ayabonga Khaka, Maria Klaas, Nadine de Klerk, Tumi Sekhukhune, Sinalo Jafta, Lara Goodall, Andrie Steyn, Robyn Searle, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Faye Tunnicliffe, Tazmin Brits, Anneke Bosch, Nondumiso Shangase, Nobulumko Baneti, Khayakazi Mathe, Evodia Yekile, Marizanne Kapp, Jenay Winster, Kirstie Thompson