Karob Meso set for Proteas Women debut against Sri Lanka aged 16

(Main photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

At just 16 years and 179 days old, promising wicket-keeper batter Karabo Meso earned her maiden national call-up to the Proteas Women squad for the T20 International (T20I) series against Sri Lanka between 27 March – 03 April, marking a significant milestone in her budding cricketing career. 

Meso’s path to the South African senior squad has been one characterized by determination and remarkable talent. 

After falling in love with the game at the age of seven through KFC Mini-Cricket, the Soweto-born cricketer began her journey in the DP World Lions’ age-group ranks before going on to feature for the professional side, SA U19 and SA Emerging teams as Meso quickly showcased her skills and maturity at a young age. 

Meso’s abilities helped her gain selection for the inaugural 2023 ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup held on home soil, where she impressed with a competition-high eight dismissals on the way to being picked for the Team of the Tournament after South Africa bowed out at the Super Six stage. 

Days before getting the all-important call-up, Meso was taking part in the first-ever Women’s T20 competition at the 13th African Games in Ghana as the teenager handled the wicketkeeping duties to help Team South Africa take silver after a Super Over defeat against Zimbabwe in the final. 

Karabo Meso of the Lions during the CSA Women’s Provincial T20 Cup, top 6 match between Six Gun Grill Western Province and DP World Lions at Six Gun Grill Newlands on March 19, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Reflecting on the moment she received the news of her selection, the 2023 CSA U19 Women’s Player of the Year shared her initial disbelief and overwhelming gratitude. 

“I got the message a day before it got announced in the media,” she recalled. “I didn’t know how to react because at first, I didn’t believe it, even though it came out of my coach’s mouth. I felt it was like a movie, I’m truly honoured.

“It’s not that easy to play for your country at a young age. Not many people can make a national team at the age of 16, so I’m going to learn a lot. 

Meso’s journey underscores the importance of the development pipeline within South African cricket. From representing her country at a young age in the U19 World Cup to her contributions for the Lions and SA Emerging, Meso has demonstrated her ability to grow, adapt and thrive at different levels of the game. 

Looking back at a pivotal period in her burgeoning career, Meso highlights the impact of the U19 World Cup experience.

“I started playing for the Lions in 2021. I was still young, I didn’t know anything. I just played cricket for fun, even though it was the women’s side I just played and then the trials for the World Cup came and I played in the World Cup. 

“It also showed me as a cricketer that we grow. People grow playing cricket, any sport, whenever they take a step forward. Taking a step forward actually makes people grow day by day, no matter if it’s sports or life,” she noted. 

Balancing academic commitments alongside her cricketing ambitions has been a challenge for Meso, but one the Steyn City School pupil has tackled with determination and support from those around her. 

“At first, it was really hard because I didn’t know what to do,” she admitted. 

“To the point where I was like, ‘I need help’. So my school created a designated academic schedule for me and I have extra lessons all the time, so I can catch up and be a little forward. To young athletes facing the similar challenges that I’m facing, just seek help. You’re still young, you’re still maturing.”

Going forward, Meso envisions leveraging her passion for cricket for lifelong success, both on and off the field. 

“Cricket has been a part of my life’s journey since I was seven. It’s actually inspiring me as a person because now I have bigger goals. Not only a vision of playing for the Proteas, but I also have more goals and ambitions. Goals like playing in all the leagues outside of South Africa.

“My passion drives me to become a better cricketer and to inspire other young athletes who want to be in my shoes,” she concluded. 

The Proteas Women will get their inbound tour against Sri Lanka underway with the first T20I on Wednesday, 27 March at Willowmoore Park in Benoni, with the first ball delivered at 18h00.

CSA U19 Women’s Player of the Year winner Karabo Meso with Chloe Tryon and Anrich Nortje during the CSA Pathway Awards 2023 at Vodaworld on July 07, 2023 in Midrand, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Proteas Women Squad (T20I Only) – Inbound Tour against Sri Lanka 

Laura Wolvaardt (Fidelity Titans, Captain)
Anneke Bosch (Fidelity Titans)
Tazmin Brits (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers)
Nadine de Klerk (World Sports Betting Western Province)
Annerie Dercksen (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers)
Sinalo Jafta (DP World Lions)
Marizanne Kapp (World Sports Betting Western Province)
Ayabonga Khaka (DP World Lions)
Masabata Klaas (Fidelity Titans)
Suné Luus (Fidelity Titans)
Eliz-Mari Marx (Fidelity Titans)
Karabo Meso* (DP World Lions)
Nonkululeko Mlaba (Hollywoodbets Dolphins)
Tumi Sekhukhune (DP World Lions)
Chloé Tryon (DP World Lions)

Fixtures – South Africa Inbound Tour vs Sri Lanka 2023/24 

T20 International Series:

Wednesday, 27 March @ 18h00 – 1st T20I – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (Willowmoore Park, Benoni)

Saturday, 30 March @ 14h00 – 2nd T20I – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom)

Wednesday, 03 April @ 18h00 – 3rd T20I – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (Buffalo Park, East London)

50-over Warm-Up Match: 

Saturday, 06 April @ 10h00 – South Africa XI vs Sri Lanka XI (Buffalo Park, East London)

One-Day International Series – ICC Women’s Championship: 

Tuesday, 09 April @ 14h00 – 1st ODI – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (Buffalo Park, East London)

Saturday, 13 April @ 14h00 – 2nd ODI – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (Diamond Oval, Kimberley)

Wednesday, 17 April @ 14h00 – 3rd ODI – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom)

Source: Cricket South Africa

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