Nadine de Klerk fired up for Proteas' landmark Test against Australia

Nadine de Klerk fired up for Proteas' landmark Test against Australia

Following a closely contested white-ball leg Down Under, the Proteas Women shift their focus to their inaugural Test match against host Australia at the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) Ground in Perth from 15 - 18 February.

Before their first training session at the iconic ground, all-rounder Nadine de Klerk engaged with the media to preview the thrilling contest, as South Africa prepares for only their second four-day match since 2014.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us. Obviously, it's kind of unknown territory for us and we haven't played a lot of it. They're a world-class side and we're looking forward to going up against them.

Named in the 14-player squad set to confront Australia this week, de Klerk aims to add to her solitary Test cap earned during South Africa's drawn match against England in Taunton in June 2022.

As the Proteas Women gear up for a less-frequented format, the 24-year-old shed light on the team's approach to training and the nuances of Test cricket.

"It's about applying a lot of patience. It's quite different from the white-ball games. You kind of have to bat for long periods of time and I think the bowlers are going to bowl quite a few overs in there. 

So today it's about figuring out how you want to go about it as individuals.

"Everybody's game plan is going to look quite different. It's about trying to figure out what works best for you and then taking that into the game," she explained. The past 12 months have been remarkable for de Klerk, featuring in the Proteas Women's journey to the ICC Women's T20 World Cup final and playing a pivotal role in One-Day International (ODI) cricket.

She earned a spot in the 2023 ICC Women's ODI Team of the Year after securing a career-best 16 wickets in nine matches in the calendar year, along with 181 runs at an average of 45.25 including two fifties. De Klerk continued her fine form with the ball in the new year, contributing to South Africa's maiden ODI and T20 International (T20I) victories against Australia in the ongoing multi-format tour.

Attributing her success to consistency and self-belief, de Klerk stated, "I've actually done the same thing just more consistently. I've tried to just back myself a little bit more and being in and out of the side wasn't always easy. Having the opportunity to play around the world and in a few different places really helped me grow as well. It's about being really confident and backing my skills and hopefully it can continue to grow from here on."

The one-off Test match is not only the first between the two countries but also marks the first red-ball international held at the WACA since 2017 and only the fourth women's Test match held at the ground, with the last one taking place in January 2014.

Reflecting on the uniqueness of playing at the WACA Ground, the all-rounder expressed the team's excitement, especially for the younger players.

"Coming to Australia is quite special in general. A lot of us haven't actually played here before, so I think for a lot of our young girls, it's a great experience and we might not get that opportunity anytime soon. So we'll try and make the best out of it and hopefully have a lot of fun." de Klerk said.

The Test gets underway on Thursday, 15 February from 11h00 local time (05h00 SAST).

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