South Africa have named uncapped medium-pacer Zintle Mali in their women's squad to face India in three ODIs next month. The squad of 14 otherwise comprises familiar names who represented South Africa at the Women's World Cup last June-July.
The team have not played a match since their semi-final defeat to England in Bristol on July 18 but will need to find their feet quickly. The three matches against India will form part of the ICC Women's Championship (IWC), which will decide which teams qualify for the 2021 World Cup. The South African women held a team camp late last year and some of memebers have been playing in the Women's Big Bash League, so they are not entirely without game time but coach Hilton Moreeng knows the importance of being on the ball immediately.
"It's been a long break for the squad and preparation has been very good building up to this important, first IWC series and we are going to make sure that we keep working hard and that we arrive prepared for it. Come the first game against India, we need to make sure that we hit the ground running," Moreeng said. "We know that the series against India is going to be a tough one. We need to make sure that we capitalise on the home-ground advantage as a team to make sure that we bring the right results to the fore."
The squad will be led by Dane van Niekerk and with headliners Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail. Youngsters Laura Wolvaardt, Raisibe Ntozakhe and Sune Luus are also in the mix.
South Africa and India will also play five T20s after the ODIs, of which the final three will be staged as double-headers with the men's series. The matches are being viewed as preparation for the Women's World T20, which will take place in the West Indies in November this year. The T20 squad had no room for Mali, Luus or Wolvaardt but included Odine Kirsten, Nadine de Klerk and Moseline Daniels.
"Going into the T20s, for us it is going to give us good preparation against a very good side. The televised double-headers are the cherry on top to make sure that we keep improving and raising the awareness regarding women's cricket in the country and making sure that we build towards the ICC Women's World T20 in West Indies. Every game that we play from now on will be with that in mind," Moreeng said.