Johannesburg - Cricket SA has increased the number of contracted women players this season, leaving captain Mignon du Preez optimistic about women's cricket in South Africa.
"We are definitely heading in the right direction. We now have 14 girls contracted, so we have a fully-contracted squad," said Du Preez in Centurion on Tuesday.
"Women's cricket globally is growing, and it's becoming more professional. We'll be there soon, where we can say we are fully professional."
Last October, just six women's players were contracted, but CSA has more than doubled that number as the side heads off on a condensed tour of Sri Lanka. The Proteas women play four ODIs and three T20s against the hosts in the space of 12 days starting on October 15.
The players, who were contracted in August, are Sun Luus, Lizelle Lee, Moseline Daniels, Chloe Tryon, Ayabonga Khaka, Nadine Moodley, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Andrie Steyn, Mignon du Preez (captain), Marcia Letsoalo, Dan van Niekerk, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, and Trisha Chetty.
The Proteas lost 3-0 to hosts England in a T20 series in September, but Du Preez noted the steady improvement of her side.
"We are a very young side and we were very inexperienced. Every little bit we play together, and the more we play against strong opposition like England, you can see how we improve.
"There are a lot of talented players coming through."
The Sri Lankan women's side toured South Africa in October last year and the Proteas came out on top, but away from home would be a different proposition altogether according to Du Preez.
"Last time they toured here we beat them 2-1 in both the ODIs and T20s.
It's going to be very different playing in their conditions this time around.
"We're definitely not going to take them lightly, and they've also grown tremendously in the last few years. We think it's going to be a very competitive series."