lOUBSER TO LEAD lady PROTEAS

SPIN WIZ: New SA women's cricket squad skipper Sunette Loubser bowls during the ICC Womens World Cup qualifiers semifinal against Ireland at the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town last year. 22/02/08. Pic. Tertius Pickard. © Gallo Images.
SPIN WIZ: New SA women's cricket squad skipper Sunette Loubser bowls during the ICC Womens World Cup qualifiers semifinal against Ireland at the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town last year. 22/02/08. Pic. Tertius Pickard. © Gallo Images.

Sunette Loubser, captain of domestic champions Boland, has been given the honour of leading the 15-member national women's cricket squad to the ICC Women's World Cup in Australia in March.

Sunette Loubser, captain of domestic champions Boland, has been given the honour of leading the 15-member national women's cricket squad to the ICC Women's World Cup in Australia in March.

The off-spinner who destroyed all opposition during last year's World Cup qualifiers in Stellenbosch replaces Cri-Zelda Brits as captain of the squad.

The South African women will play in their second World Cup tournament from March 7-23.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola said: "On behalf of Cricket South Africa, I would like to extend our very best wishes to Sunette Loubser and her squad for the 2009 ICC Women's World Cup in Australia.

"CSA looks forward to a good performance by this team, as it showcases women's cricket in South Africa, which is a CSA priority. They have a sound springboard, as they won the qualifying tournament in Stellenbosch.

"This will give them the confidence to produce a formidable challenge in Australia, and help us further accelerate the advancement of women's cricket in South Africa."

Commenting after the announcement of the squad, convenor of selectors Denise Reid said: "We are fortunate to be in the position with so many talented and committed players. The squad is well balanced and they possess a fantastic batting and bowling attack with good variation.

"We've selected in-form players who have had consistent performances this season. New players includes the very impressive and explosive opening batters Yolandi van der Westhuizen of Boland, Kirsty Thompson of Gauteng and very exciting Northerns spinner Dané van Niekerk. These players have done exceptionally well at domestic level."

In recognition of her sole place in representing South Africa among the world's best batsmen in the ICC ODI Championships batting rankings, South Africa's outgoing captain has been afforded the opportunity to give her best with the willow.

"The captaincy has been changed to allow Cri-Zelda Brits - an immensely talented player - to concentrate entirely on her own performance," says Reid.

"She's a vital part of the team, and we require her undivided attention at the role assigned to her. We have in Sunette Loubser, who has been captaining Boland successfully for five or more years, a suitable and capable replacement."

Recognising the enormity of the task ahead of the women Proteas, the South African management have had to make some tough choices.

"Dinesha Devnarain [KwaZulu-Natal], Olivia Anderson [Western Province] and in particular Daleen Terblanche [Gauteng], the most experienced player for SA, are among those who can count themselves extremely unlucky for missing out on a spot.

"We are drawn in a tough pool, and are now getting to the final stages before leaving for Australia. I have full confidence in the squad. We will seriously be contesting the World Cup, and are out to become a force in women's cricket," Reid concluded.

ICC Women's World Cup fixtures, Group A - Sun 8 Mar: West Indies v South Africa, Newcastle; Tuesday, 10 Mar: Australia v South Africa, Newcastle; Thursday, 12 March: New Zealand v South Africa, Bowral. - Sapa

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