SINGAPORE - When Singapore's women cricketers open their SEA Games campaign against Malaysia today in Kuala Lumpur, their fielding is bound to be much sharper. Their movements are also set to be a lot quicker.
That is because their ranks have been swelled by four players who made the switch from softball and netball to cricket at the beginning of the year.
Aow Ci Hui, 26, Toh Wang Ling, 23, Jacinta Neubronner, 24, and Tan Zay Hua, 18, are getting proficient in batting and bowling. But they have quickly adapted to stopping, catching and throwing a harder ball than they were used to playing with.
"The four will give us an extra edge," said Singapore's captain Diviya G.K. 30. "Their hand-eye co-ordination is fantastic. They are hard working and always striving to do better. They are very supportive of the team."
Singapore's players will have to be on their toes throughout the Twenty20 tournament since the other teams in the fray are strong.
Thailand are of top calibre as they have figured in the Asia Cup and World Cup qualifiers. Indonesia beat Singapore 3-0 in a friendly series in February. Malaysia are unknown quantities, but they are reported to have trained hard in recent months and will have home advantage.
"For the first time we had a pool of 17 players to choose from, and we have a good mix of experience and youth in our 15," said Singapore's coach Irfan Madakia, 27. "In these matches, who can handle pressure will do well. Our aim is to go in with an attacking mindset."
Singapore play Indonesia on Thursday and Thailand on Saturday. The final and third-place play-off are on Monday.