Proteas coach Russell Domingo is positive yet level-headed about his squad’s achievements at the halfway mark of the One-Day International series against India.
The Proteas lead the five-match series 2-1 and have the opportunity of claiming their first ever bilateral series win in India with two matches to go in Chennai and Mumbai.
‘If someone said to me before the tour that we would be 2-1 up in the ODI series with two to play, along with a T20 series win, we would all have jumped at that,’ he said in Chennai.
‘I’m happy with the way we have started but there are still 22 days of cricket left, we have only played five. There is a long way to go and we have to make sure that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves.’
Domingo says losing JP Duminy is a ‘big loss’ to the squad, but is confident of finding a suitable replacement with the resources on the bench. Khaya Zondo and Chris Morris are both options, and Dean Elgar, who arrives early on Wednesday morning, is coming off scores of 86 and 57 for the Unlimited Titans in the Momentum One-Day Cup.
‘JP is a world-class player and under these conditions he fits the all-rounder role really well,’ Domingo said.
‘He is able to bowl a good number of overs, we have been battling with that all-rounder spot, and under these conditions he is the perfect guy there, he is a big loss for us. I will have to sit with the selectors to find the best combination for us ahead of the fourth ODI on Thursday.
‘Dean is going to be joining the Test squad so it’s an opportunity for him to acclimatise to the conditions,’ he said of Elgar. ‘Secondly he has done well domestically, he came here with South Africa A and did really well in India. He also offers us some left-arm spin which is something we don’t have besides Phangiso who is competing with Imran [Tahir)]. He is a mature cricketer, he averages nearly 40 in domestic one-day cricket so he brings a lot of experience with him.’
Despite the high-scoring statistics across the venues, there has only been one score above 300 to go with three centuries from Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock. Domingo says the heat has had a significant impact on the performances of the batsmen, most recently De Kock, who suffered from severe dehydration after his innings on Sunday.
‘Everyone has got a bit of a start thus far,’ he said of the batsmen. ‘The conditions, the heat and wickets makes big run-scoring a little bit harder than in other conditions. It’s important that if a batter does get a start he kicks on. India could say the same, in the last chase Virat [Kohli] got 70, nobody got the 100. The heat was stifling in the last venue so those are all things we have to take into account when playing in these conditions. It’s not easy for the bowlers and for the batsmen, who have to keep the intensity going in the heat.’