Mandela, Kolisi providing inspiration for Proteas women

2020-02-18 15:51
Dane van Niekerk
Dane van Niekerk (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Dane van Niekerk has vowed to channel the legacies of Nelson Mandela and Siya Kolisi to help South Africa realise their ICC Women's T20 World Cup dream.

The captain watched on in November as Kolisi led the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory, becoming a figurehead of South Africa with their victory in Japan.

Few countries can match South Africa when it comes to the importance for sport and uniting a country, with former president Mandela impassioned by its power to change the world.

For Van Niekerk the message rings true now more than ever as the Proteas women bid to win a global cricket event for the first time in their history.

"Nelson Mandela said that sport can unite a nation, and that's what we as sportspeople do, we try and bring the people together," she said, speaking at the captains' media day in Sydney.

"If we do something special such as Siya, it would be a dream come true and that's what makes it very special.

"I don't think we've done justice with the players we have in our team, so it's probably fair to label us as underdogs.

"We don't mind the tag, we’ve got a pool of players that are in the top tens of the rankings, so it's time that we stood up and make the most of what we can do.

"It doesn't quite come together when we get to these tournaments."

The team's talents on the cricket field are without question but, as the skipper herself admits, promise has not always transformed into performance when it matters most.

With three of their side - Van Niekerk, Mignon du Preez and Shabnim Ismail - all ever-presents of the Women's T20 World Cup, they are certainly not lacking in experience ahead of their Group B opener with England.

Excuses are therefore no longer an option for the captain, whose side can also boast a wealth of playing time in Australia as part of the Women's Big Bash League.

"I didn't in my lifetime think I would be able to play in the Big Bash alongside some of the best players in the world, and it's changed a lot of my team-mates' games," she added.

"Lizelle Lee, Du Preez, Ismail, these players have risen in the rankings thanks to some of the exposure with and against some of the best players in the world in the Big Bash.

"You make friends along the way and the Big Bash is the best T20 competition in the world for women at the moment, long may it continue to be successful."

- ICC Media

Read more on:    proteas women  |  dane van niekerk  |  cricket


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