Sport / Cricket

Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
24 Nov 2021
12:15 pm

Proteas ‘building’ towards 2023 Cricket World Cup

Ross Roche

South Africa have won only three of their nine Super League games.

Western Province star Zubayr Hamza is hoping to make his ODI debut after being included in the Proteas squad for their series against the Netherlands. Picture: Gallo Images

The Proteas are not yet the finished product, but are steadily building towards the 50-over World Cup in 2023, according to interim captain Keshav Maharaj, who is confident of the team’s plan ahead of their three-match ODI series against the Netherlands starting on Friday.

With hosts India and the other top eight sides in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League standings automatically qualifying for the 2023 showpiece, the Proteas currently find themselves outside the automatic qualification places in ninth.

This after a difficult start to the competition, having won only three of nine games thus far.

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South Africa will therefore be targeting a perfect clean sweep over the Netherlands to get their qualifying campaign back on track.

“Our progress has been a bit slow but I think there is a plan to everything and by 2023 we will probably be the polished article that we want to be,” admitted Maharaj.

“There are a few combinations that we have been trying, and that is possibly some of the reason why results haven’t gone our way, but it’s all building towards the bigger picture at the end of the day.

“Having said that, we do need (Super League) points to make sure that the qualification comes along, but there is some method in our madness at times in terms of building towards the 2023 World Cup.”

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Looking forward, Maharaj believed the Proteas needed to get as much international cricket as they could under their belts, with more game time leading to a more cohesive unit and thus a stronger squad.

“I think the more we play the better we get, the more we gel as a unit, and the more we understand how to play as a unit,” he said.

“So I think the more cricket we can play, building up towards future World Cups, is really important.

“If we look at it from a game point of view, from a match practice point of view, but more especially from a tactical point of view, we’re trying various combinations, seeing what works and seeing who fits in various roles.

“So I would love to play more against any nation, whether it be deemed against a ‘smaller’ or ‘bigger’ nation. Cricket is really important and match time and game time in the middle is important.”