South Africa captain upbeat despite losing Lotenberg January 22, 2008

Brits expects Ireland to be 'toughest opposition'

Cricinfo staff

Cri-zelda Brits: "We are sorry about Johmari, but we can't look back" © Cricinfo Ltd

Cri-zelda Brits, South Africa women's team captain, is confident her side will do well in the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Stellenbosch despite losing allrounder Johmari Logtenberg from original squad.

Logtenberg, who was South Africa's vice-captain, has quit cricket to concentrate on golf. "We decided as a team that we would focus on what's important, and that's the World Cup," Brits told supercricket website. "We are sorry about Johmari, but we can't look back."

"It's a pity about Johmari, but her retirement provides opportunities for other players," said South African Women's Cricket president Kerri Laing.

South Africa will be hosting the qualifiers, scheduled between February 18 and 24, after the tournament was moved from Pakistan last November following the imposition of emergency in the country.

Brits said the postponement had meant that some of the players had got the chance to play provincial matches ahead of the tournament. She reckoned Ireland would be South Africa's toughest opponents among the seven teams they would up against in the tournament. "We haven't seen much of them and our match against them in the 2005 World Cup was washed out, but I think they are pretty good, although I don't think they've played much recently." Ireland and South Africa are in different pools for the qualifiers and can only face each other in the semi-finals or the final.

South Africa's first match of the qualifiers is against Bermuda on February 18.