Proteas captaincy ‘massive honour’ for star batter Laura Wolvaardt

FILE - New Proteas women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt. Photo: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

FILE - New Proteas women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt. Photo: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 24, 2023


Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday appointed Laura Wolvaardt as the interim Proteas Women’s captain ahead of tours to Pakistan and New Zealand.

As IOL Sport reported earlier, Wolvaardt’s appointment comes in the wake of Suné Luus recently relinquishing her role as interim captain, and the unavailability of Chloe Tryon, the vice-captain, for the Pakistan series.

By agreement with Wolvaardt, the position will be reviewed following the conclusion of the New Zealand inbound tour.

The 24-year-old made her international debut at the age of 16 in a One-Day International encounter against England in February 2016 in Benoni.

In her more than seven years as a member of the national team, the stroke player has rocketed to third on the all-time ODI runs scorer’s list for the Proteas Women, amassing 3 193 runs at an average of 45.61 including 29 fifties and three centuries in 80 matches.

In T20I cricket, the former Western Province product and current Titans star has grown into her game in the 53 appearances for her nation. Wolvaardt has racked up 1 079 runs and seven half-centuries along with a career-best score of 66 not out against Bangladesh to help guide the Proteas to an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final in February this year.

Emerging as a rising talent during a period of triumph for the Proteas Women, Wolvaardt has garnered international acclaim.

‘Massive honour’

Wolvaardt said: “It’s a massive honour to be offered this position as captain for the next two tours. It’s something that I have always aspired to do, having played in this team for a couple of years. Having more of a leadership role is something I’ve wanted to take on. It’ll help me as a cricketer and learning to think as a captain on the field will hopefully help my batting as well.

“I’m very excited to be able to contribute in another way too, and not just in batting. It still feels surreal at the moment but it will all become more real when I meet up with the team in Pakistan.

“What I can bring to the role is the experience that I have in the side. I’ve been playing international cricket since I was 16 years old, I know quite a lot of players in the circuit and I’ve been playing in the leagues as well, so I’ve played a lot of cricket in recent years and hopefully, I’m able to use that experience and the knowledge to my advantage when I captain the team.

“I’d like to also think of myself as quite calm and level-headed and that’s probably more of the approach that I try to take on the field as a captain.

“It is very new to me but I am keen to learn and do everything that I can to do well in the position. I am lucky that I have a couple of senior players within the squad around me as well, who would be able to help me and guide me if I do need help along the way,” Wolvaardt added.

Dedication, leadership and cricketing prowess

CSA Director of Cricket, Enoch Nkwe said:  "Congratulations to Laura on her appointment as the captain of the Proteas Women's team for the upcoming tours. Laura's dedication, leadership acumen, and cricketing prowess have been evident throughout her career. Her ability to stay composed under pressure and her deep understanding of the game make her an ideal candidate to lead the team."

"The captaincy holds a vital role in shaping the team's strategy and morale, especially during tours as important as these to Pakistan and at home against New Zealand. Laura's influence as captain will extend beyond her individual performances as she guides the team toward their goals.

“As the Proteas Women embark on these critical tours, CSA wishes Laura and the entire team the very best. The challenges ahead are immense, but with Laura's leadership and the team's collective efforts, they are well-poised to deliver outstanding performances on the field,” Nkwe concluded.

The Proteas Women are set to kick off their new 2023/24 season with a first-ever tour to Pakistan from September 1 to 14, with a three-match T20 International (T20I) and a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series, with all contests held at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The ODI series will resume South Africa’s ICC Women’s Championship qualification pathway to the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2025, with the Proteas on currently six points with three wins in three.

IOL Sport