Cape Town - The Proteas women's tour against Pakistan is drawing nearer and so the preparation continues at heightened levels from the team's point of view.
A squad of 18 of some of the most promising players in the country has been invited to a four-day national camp which commenced today in Pretoria.
South Africa will play host to Pakistan in a three-match One-Day International and five-match T20 international series, which will be played over four venues from May 06 to 23 May.
Assistant coach to the national team, Salieg Nackerdien said the coaching staff was pleased with the intensity of the group on the opening day of camp. He stressed the importance of building steady momentum going into the tour in order for the players to give maximum output and reach the team's first goal of collecting six vital points from the ICC Women's Championship ODI series.
"We had a good (National) Women's Week a couple of weeks ago and our top six batters dominated the scene and that's what we talked about in the previous camp, so that was excellent to see," he commented. "For momentum purposes going into that Pakistan series in a couple of weeks, I think it's important that they are still in that good space and getting into those good habits.
"What we want to achieve at the end of the day is to get those six points but it's all up to us going forward in this camp and into the other one just before the start of the tour in a couple of weeks' time. So, prep-wise we've got enough time, but for now, we need to focus on the basics keep the momentum going."
The coach was also impressed with the hard work that players have evidently put in during their time away from camp. He said that it pleased him to no end to see so much competition for places in the national team. The type of environment and culture that they have worked hard to create looks to finally be manifesting itself.
"I'm very happy with where we're at. It's great that you can't just put a (squad of) eleven together, players are knocking on the door and putting their names forward," Nackerdien continued. "That's what we want to create - a big pool - but also a pool that's competitive and that's consistent and not just handed opportunities so that the players that are there already know that the only way of securing their place is by putting in the performances."
While the competition is rife in the team, the morale and unity is also visibly solid, an area that continues to impress the coach as it is a culture that the team have worked hard to create and protect.
"I think it's tremendous that the players are getting along so well. The new girls are being welcomed in with open arms and to see the seniors helping the juniors with their extras after the live nets that we had today is just what you want to see as a coach," he explained. "This is the culture that we have been building and want to strengthen moving forward. If we can grow this type of mentality and take it further, I think we can achieve great things."
The South African squad to take on Pakistan will be announced on Monday, April 22.
National women's camp squad:
Yolani Fourie (Gauteng), Nadine de Klerk (Northerns), Chloe Tryon (KZN Coastal), Moseline Daniels (Border), Zintle Mali (Border), Tumi Sekhukhune (North West), Masabata Klaas (North West), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Tazmin Brits (North West), Lizelle Lee (North West), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Sune Luus (Northerns), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Sinalo Jafta (North West), Nondumiso Shangase (KZN Coastal), Izel Cilliers (Free State), Evodia Yekile (North West).