Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS
Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS

Momentum Proteas‚ the senior women’s national cricket team‚ will host Pakistan for a six-match limited-overs series without captain Dane van Niekerk and her deputy Chloe Tryon due to injuries.

The South Africans will be back playing international cricket after the coronavirus-forced interruption with three ODIs and three T20 matches to be held in a bio-secure controlled environment.

The tour will begin with a warm-up at Durban’s Chatsworth Oval on Saturday against the SA Emerging squad before the start of the ODI series at the Kingsmead Stadium on January 20.

Team doctor Tshegofatso Gaetsewe said the two all-rounders are in advanced stages of rehabilitation after sustaining injuries late in 2020.

“With regards to captain Van Niekerk and Tryon, both of them sustained lower back injuries in December and both are currently in different phases of rehabilitation‚” said Gaetsewe during a virtual media briefing on Monday with head coach Hilton Moreeng.

“They are doing well. It is just that they are not eligible for this tour. But everything about their rehab is on track and we are satisfied and hopeful they will join us for the next tour.”

Gaetsewe said another crucial member of the team, Marizanne Kapp‚ who was in hospital after a heart scare while playing for the Sydney Sixers in a Women’s Big Bash League match in November‚ is with the squad and in good health.

“Kapp is currently with us in Durban, so she is part of our camp and our play group‚” said the doctor.

“She is in good condition. Her health issues that we encountered in Australia have been taken care of and anything she needs subsequent to that she will get. For now, for this tour everything is OK. She is in good health and I don’t anticipate any problems.”

Gaetsewe also revealed there had been positive cases of Covid-19 among the staff and playing squad since the team reported for the bio-secure environment on Friday, but said the positive cases were asymptomatic.

“From the contingent of players and management‚ the first tests [for Covid-19] came out with two positive results. Forty-one  people were tested and one member of staff and one player tested positive. Neither of them were ill and neither of them had symptoms‚” said Gaetsewe‚ adding that the positive cases were isolated.

“They are now doing well in isolation and will join the bio-safe environment at a later stage if deemed necessary.

“Since we arrived in Durban‚ our venue and training facility and subsequently the match venues will also adhere to bio-secure regulations that have been set out by the ministry of health and Cricket SA.”

Gaetsewe said a second round of testing produced negative results and he confirmed there will be another round of testing on Wednesday.

“The players are currently divided into small groups and they will train in those small groups until we do our next test on January 13.

“Our camp is a month long so we are going to do a number of serial tests just to make sure we do not miss the number of symptomatic cases that can potentially spread.”

All matches will be played in KwaZulu-Natal.

The series opener will be followed by two ODIs on January 23 and 26 at Kingsmead and Pietermaritzburg Oval.

The three T20s will then follow in uMgungundlovu on January 29 and 31, with the last fixture taking place at Kingsmead on February 3.

Moreeng is happy with how preparations have gone‚ despite the circumstances‚ with the team having been inactive for more than 10 months.

“I think for us, as the doctor has highlighted‚ it has been a challenging environment‚” he said.

“You can call it a new norm for us but what is most important is that we make sure we get an opportunity to play cricket because it has been almost a year since we last played cricket as a team.”

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