Hodgkinson retains captaincy January 24, 2005

South Africa announce World Cup squad

South Africa have announced their World Cup squad for the forthcoming tournament in March and April in South Africa. Alison Hodgkinson retains the captaincy and, as expected, their rising star, the 15-year-old Johmari Logtenberg, also earns a place.

There are three changes to the 16-player squad who played two warm-up matches against Under-17 boys' sides at the weekend. Hanri Strydom, Yulande van der Merwe, Sunette Viljoen did not make the final squad, while Tamara Reeves - omitted from the warm-up squad - has been drafted in, and Susan Benade has been placed on standby for Magdaleen Terblanche, whose participation is subject to her passing a fitness test before 01 March 2005.

South Africa reached the semi-final in the last World Cup in New Zealand in 2000 and lost their last ODI home series 4-1 to England but, as hosts, they will fancy themselves as lively outsiders behind Australia and the holders New Zealand.

Their coach, Stephen Jones, was upbeat about South Africa's chances. "No doubt home advantage will play a factor," Jones told a media conference on Monday. "We know the wickets, and on tour you have to take other factors into account: food and water and so on. One good thing is that we've not got the huge expectations of the men's side. There are 15000 in the ground, but hopefully, we'll have only 10000!"

"Hopefully we'll have 14 stars, but any cricket team a nucleus of four or five, six players. We have that nucleus, can compete with anyone," he added.

He expected Logtenberg to play another starring role. Logtenberg, who plays for Kwa-Zulu Natal, burst on to the international scene in 2003 when, aged 14, she struck 74 on her Test debut against England. Her one-day form is pretty good, too. She has hit scores of 61, 67 and 76 in her first eight matches.

"She's a young girl, but hugely talented," Jones said. "The last thing I want to do is put any pressure on her, or expectation. But if she can play and have a lot of fun and enjoyment, at 25 you still have to enjoy the game, never mind at 15."

"I have no doubt she will have a really good tournament - but I can't say that South Africa relies just on Logtenberg. She is one of the team but, if looked after by the rest of them, then no doubt she will have a good tournament."

Louise Vorster, the president of SAWCA, was in equally positive mood. "Although the players are relatively young it is a well balanced squad," she said. "They have prepared well and spent time together over the last three months. We are confident that Stephen Jones and the squad will do our nation proud during their campaign."

Squad Alison Hodgkinson (capt), Cri-Zelda Brits, Lonelle de Beer, Shandre Fritz, Ashlyn Kilowan, Johmari Logtenberg, Nolubabalo Ndzundzu, Shafeeqa Pillay, Alicia Smith, Tamara Reeves, Angelique Taai, Claire Terblanche, Daleen Terblanche, Charlize van der Westhuizen.