She’s not even out of hotel quarantine yet, but Hurricanes star batting recruit Mignon du Preez is backing her new side to go “all the way”.
The Hurricanes have struggled to climb the ladder in recent tournaments, placing last three times out of the past four seasons and winning just nine games. There’s a growing sense of optimism around the Apple Isle, however, with five days until the women purple take the field.
Du Preez and spin sensation Molly Strano are the headliner additions. Strano joined the Tasmanian Tigers for their previous WNCL campaign, adding firepower to their bowling line-up and helping them improve from sixth to third.
The two will form a group of experience amongst young talent which includes recently appointed captain Rachel Priest and international stalwart Nicola Carey.
A five-year captain of the South African national team, du Preez will look to bring her wealth of experience to the Hurricanes.
“Over the last couple of years in South Africa I’ve been one of the most experienced players,” du Preez told media on Monday.
“I try to lead without a title. It’s something I think I can still continue to do with the Hurricanes.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play against Rachel a lot of times on the international stage, in the Big Bash, in the Kia Super League, in The Hundred. It’s different playing alongside her this time, but I think we’re going to have a blast.”
With not much else to do stuck in quarantine, she’s been able to get a good look at the form of her new teammates in the Australia vs India multi-format series.
While Strano only appeared briefly, Carey, Richa Ghosh, and Tayla Vlaeminck all made an impression on both du Preez and cricket fans.
Carey showed why she’s one of Australia premier bowlers, taking four wickets across both the ODI and T20 series. She also hit a handy 39* (38), including helping her side to a miraculous five wicket win.
Vlaeminck’s return from injury in the T20 leg of the series was one to remember, bowling 2/18 in the second match. This included a blisteringly fast 145 km/h ball in the first.
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Ghosh demonstrated why she can be one of the teenage surprise packages of this year’s edition, making 118 runs and taking four catches behind the stumps.
Her confidence to play aggressive and head for the boundary late in innings makes her a dangerous prospect for opposition bowlers.
“Being stuck in quarantine, it was really nice to be able to watch cricket all the time,” du Preez said.
“I really think we’ve got a good squad, and a strong mixture of experienced players with a lot of exciting youngsters. From what I’ve seen, they bring a lot of energy, so really excited to meet them soon.”
Looking at the squad overall, du Preez sees a different mixture with the bat in hand being the key to success in WBBL|07.
While the bowling’s been there, the batting hasn’t been quite up to snuff.
Now with herself, Carey, Priest, Ghosh, and Rachel Trenamen, as well as some strong all-rounders and young talent in the wings, that’s where the next step in improvement will come from.
“Following over the past couple of years, they’ve had a really strong bowling attack,” du Preez said.
“I think what was lacking was a little bit in the batting department. Hopefully I can help with that a little bit this year, and really take a senior role for us.”
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