The Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) has named its ladies Under 19 National team to represent the country at the Africa Cricket Association (ACA) Under 19 tournament billed for Tanzania early next month.
The team, which is made up of twelve players and three officials, is expected to leave for the tournament on the 5th of December.
The local girls are expected in Tanzania on the 6th and will play their first two games on the 7th against hosts Tanzania and Uganda in the morning and afternoon, respectively.
The team’s biggest test will be on the afternoon of the 8th when they come face to face with Kenya.
The team, which is under the watchful eye of coach Innocent Chando, comprises of captain Shameelah Mosweu, vice captain Jacqueline Tshose, Wicket Keeper Laura Mophakedi, Ponalo Rapinyane, Katlego Busi, Florence Samanyika, Botho Freeman, Thandiwe Legabile, Mimmie Ramafifi, Leeme Masilo, Olebogeng Batisani and Ankita Trivedi.
Speaking in an interview, BCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Girish Ramakrishna said the team, which is a good mix of all rounders, seam bowlers and spin bowlers, is ready for what will be its toughest test yet. According to Ramakrishna, the team added some spin bowl attack on its ranks to ensure that they are able to play well in the slow pitches of Tanzania when the field is not favourable to fast bowlers.
Despite the local girls having to meet, among others, Africa’s best cricketing countries in Kenya and Uganda, the BCA CEO said he is hopeful that the team will do well at the tournament.
He says while this will be the team’s first real test in the international arena, BCA is not worried about the team as it has played with international teams during the four nations tournament hosted by his association in August earlier this year.
“This will be the team’s first trip outside the country and they are very excited. There is no pressure for them to win as this is a relatively very young side and can still play in this tournament in future,” Ramakrishna said. He says with all the team players aged sixteen and below, the exposure they will get augurs well for Botswana cricket as it will help them grow.
Ramakrishna, however, pointed out that if the team performs well at the tournament, it will help take the ladies cricket in the country to a higher level.
Meanwhile, the BCF is expected to announce the national Under 17 boys’ team next week to prepare for the three nations tournament that will be hosted by Botswana from the 2nd to the 4th of December. The tournament will be played between Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique.
According to Ramakrishna, the BCA selectors have already drafted the team list and they are hopeful it will be finalised by next week. Played in the backdrop of the just ended Botswana Premiere League Under 17 boys’ tournament, which showcased the country’s top upcoming cricketers, the BCA CEO says the tournament will be an exciting one for the selected youngsters and will give them the opportunity to test their talent against more competitive opposition.