Marizanne Kapp admits to mental struggles in absence of Lizelle Lee, Dane van Niekerk

After South Africa lost by 114 runs to England and now being 2-0 behind in the three-match ODI series, senior all-rounder Marizanne Kapp has admitted to struggling mentally on the tour of United Kingdom in the absence of recently-retired Marizanne Kapp and her wife, regular skipper Dane van Niekerk, who will be unavailable for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

In the second ODI, Marizanne top-scored with 73 after conceding 0-60 in her nine overs of right-arm pace, while opener Laura Wolvaardt made 55. But it was not enough for South Africa to come close in chasing down a mammoth 338.

Instead, they were bowled out for just 223 in 41 overs as the rest of the batting order couldn’t put up a collective show. Before the start of the ODI series, Lizelle abruptly announced her retirement from international cricket, leaving a huge void at the top of the order.

“It’s definitely tough and not something that I expected. With Lizelle being one of my best friends, I have been struggling. Mentally, I have not been in the best space the last week or so, especially with Lizelle’s retirement,” Marizanne was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo after the match.

With Dane not in the Commonwealth Games squad with her recovery from ankle fracture sustained in January still going on, Marizanne feels that the senior players in the South Africa side will have to take more responsibilities.

“It’s obviously not ideal not to have Dane in the Commonwealth Games squad and not to have Lizelle. But that’s why we are a team. We have to give the youngsters opportunities to see what they can do.

“We are so used to playing and travelling for such a long time that it’s nothing new to us. It shouldn’t be an excuse but for me personally, it gets to you: being away from home, being alone, not being with family. It is tough, but we chose this sport. We knew it was going to be tough. We just have to be strong, work as a team and support each other. It’s going to take a push from the seniors.”

Marizanne also credited the team management for giving her the required backing in a mentally tough period for her. “I’m human and I’ve wanted to cry a few times on the field in the last two games but our team doctor has been absolutely brilliant. She assisted me and she has been there for me throughout this period.

“Mentally, it’s been tough. You have to pull yourself back together and get the job done. I can’t let the youngsters down. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be strong.”

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