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February 17, 2009
Noor Rhode, the South Africa women's coach, has called his team the 'surprise package' of the World Cup since most of the top sides are not familiar with his players.
"The opposition don't know us, they don't know our way of thinking and they don't know how we want to play the game," Rhode told the ICC website. "We want to make use of that."
Rhode said that though the lack of international cricket ahead of the World Cup hampered South Africa's preparations, they could use the situation to their advantage. "Our players haven't played against the top countries in the world before and have no fear." South Africa last played international cricket in August 2007 on their tour to England, where they won two out of their 10 matches - an ODI and a Twenty20 against Ireland.
But Rhode said he was pleased with the squad for the World Cup. "We have just finished off our last provincial games in South Africa at the weekend and I have seen some very good cricket from them and I am very happy."
South African selectors chose to hand the captaincy to Sunette Loubser in order to give the previous leader Cri-zelda Brits the opportunity to concentrate on her batting. Rhode was confident of Loubser's leadership skills and said Brits was a key player of the side and could turn a game around in the space of four overs. "Sunette brings a lot of energy and knowledge to the team and she is a people person, with good cricket skills, and it also gives us the opportunity to give Cri-zelda the chance to focus on her batting as that is where we need her the most."
Rhode also agreed with Sherwin Campbell, the West Indies coach, that the opening game between their teams would be crucial for both. "West Indies toured Holland just after us and then went to England and a few of my friends went to watch them. They also played a three-match series just after the World Cup in 2005 and I was fortunate to see a few of the players then, but I know a few of them have retired."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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