Graeme Smith

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Cricket SA’s director of cricket Graeme Smith said the women’s team is in a better position than the men’s team.Hilton Moreeng’s charges made the play-offs in the 2017 Women’s World Cup and 2020 T20 World Cup.Smith said a tour to India for the women’s team is being discussed with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.In what was a throwaway, but honest admission of how low the men’s team’s stock has fallen and how the brightly the women’s cricket star has shone recently, Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith believes the women’s team is in a better position.

This is backed up by the fact that the women’s team has reached the play-offs of their 50-over World Cup in 2017 and last year’s T20 World Cup.

The same can’t be said of the men’s national team. They have bombed out of the round-robin stages of three consecutive ICC tournaments in the T20 World Cup in 2016, the Champions Trophy the following year and the infamous Cricket World Cup campaign of 2019 that flopped before the tournament properly got going.

The men’s team hasn’t had the best of times in bilateral series, with the Pakistan Test and T20 series losses being their most recent setbacks.

The men’s team is currently ranked sixth in Tests and fifth in T20s and ODIs. The women’s team is fourth and fifth, respectively, in ODIs and T20s.

“Our goal for is for our teams to be in the top ranking and the women’s team is in a better position than our men’s team, but we also need to push them further,” Smith said.

Smith also said there were talks with the Board of Control for Cricket in India with regards to the women’s team travelling to India.

Should this tour come off, it’ll be a significant milestone for a women’s team that was hard hit by the pandemic.

They weren’t able to host Australia early last year after the T20 World Cup because of the Covid-19 pandemic and that also prevented them from travelling to England for a limited over series because of the same issue.

“The talks are progressing, so I hope that’ll be the case,” Smith said.

“We are keen on providing as much content to our ladies as possible. They lost out last year because of the pandemic and government regulations with regards to Covid-19. We’re working hard on building a busier FTP for them. We’re in the process of dealing with the BCCI with regards to that tour.”

With women’s cricket clearly in need of more game time considering their international success, Smith said there are also plans afoot to increase their playing workload.

The women’s team was engaged in a six-match T20 and 50-over series against Pakistan which was held in a bio-secure environment in Durban recently.

“We’re looking to increase cricket as much as we can and not just from an international perspective, but a domestic one as well. We’ve recognised that we only have 14-odd contracted players, so we need to increase the talent pool and the opportunities that women need to play at a level and challenge for national honours,” Smith said.

“Our content at domestic level hasn’t been enough and the game is growing at a pace. We need to invest in that a bit more and we’ll be spending more money in the coming season. Internationally, there are a number of things we need to sign off shortly. I wish things could move quicker than they are now and we hope our winter and summer programmes will be busy for both our teams.”