Proteas women cricket coach Hilton Moreeng says South Africa must have a professional league within the next two years in order to develop young talent and feed the senior national team.
South African players are sought after around the world and this season Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus played for Brisbane Heat‚ Mignon du Preez was signed by Melbourne Stars‚ and Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp by Sydney Sixers Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia.
Last year‚ Du Preez played for Southern Vipers while Van Niekerk and Kapp for Surrey Stars in the Kia Super League in England‚ and Moreeng believes it is time South Africa had their own league.
“I think in the next two years‚ the league must start happening‚” the coach said after the Proteas beat Sri Lanka by 39 runs at SuperSport Park on Wednesday to complete a 3-0 T20 series whitewash over their visitors.
“We have players in this team who played in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia and four in the Kia League in England.
“This shows that in terms of quality‚ we are starting to compete on big cricket stages in the world. The more we have players going overseas‚ we can also start our own because it will help us expose our players to high intensity competition.”
Van Niekerk said the experience that she and other players have gained playing overseas is valuable for themselves and the national team‚ and they want to see more youngsters following in their footsteps.
“Big Bash is leading the way at the moment in terms of domestic competition for women’s cricket and the experience you take out by playing with and against the best in the world is priceless‚” she said.
“You build confidence from playing on that stage‚ where it is 14 games and it’s full-on competition with the best players in the world.
“The first year I think it was myself and Marizanne‚ the second year was myself‚ Mignon‚ Lizelle Lee‚ Sune Luus and a few others‚ and it shows where South African players are going and that they are recognised on the international stage.
“I feel we can get a couple more South African players abroad‚ especially the youngsters so that they can gain valuable experience in those pressure situations and learn as much as possible as players.”
Moreeng said he was impressed in the 3-0 series win over Sri Lanka with the way younger players in the team conducted themselves in pressure situations.
“If you look overall from the first match to the third match‚ there has been aggression in our game and that is what we like to see and we spoke a lot about.
“It was also good to see how some of the youngsters coped under pressure after we threw them into the deep end‚” he said.