Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy says the mood in the ODI camp is good despite the Test side’s 2-0 defeat to Sri Lanka.
The Proteas were heavily beaten in the red-ball format, losing the two-Test series by heavy margins – 278 runs in the first Test and 199 in the second. Nine players that formed part of the Test squad will now be forced to shift their focus to the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka starting in Dambulla on Sunday.
The squad held their first full practice in Colombo on Wednesday and will take on a Sri Lanka Board XI in a 50-over warm-up match taking place at the P. Sara Oval on Thursday.
Six news faces – Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wiaan Mulder, Junior Dala and Reeza Hendricks have joined the squad, which is a timely injection of fresh energy following the disappointing Test series loss.
‘The guys seem in good spirits,’ said Duminy on Wednesday. ‘You want to try and dust it off as quickly as possible [the Test series loss] and take what you can that will add value to the ODI and T20 series.
‘There are quite a few guys coming in with fresh energy, that will definitely add to the environment. These are experiences that you go through in your career, it certainly won’t be the last. You have to learn from it and see how you can improve.
‘It is an exciting group, very youthful,’ he said of the squad. ‘They have been playing well, they have earned their right to be in the team, which puts pressure on us old dogs. They bring a different energy which is good for the environment.’
Duminy made his ODI debut in Colombo in 2004 and is the most experienced ODI player in the current squad, with 184 caps. He returns to a country where he has produced mixed fortunes in the 13 matches he has played but hopes the series can be a step up from past tours.
‘It will be a great learning experience for any cricketer,’ he said. ‘I have been here a few times, I have had some really tough tours, but have also had some success here. You want to draw on that success and reflect on what we have done well. In the last tour  we did reasonably well in the ODIs and T20s, we want to draw on that and see how we can still improve.
‘I feel conditions won’t be as challenging as they were in the Test series so batters will get good opportunities in the middle. We will need to grab it with both hands.’
The 50-over warm-up match against the Sri Lanka Board XI will start at 6am SAST time.
Proteas ODI squad: Faf du Plessis (Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Junior Dala (Titans), Quinton de Kock (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Reeza Hendricks (Highveld Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), David Miller (Dolphins), Wiaan Mulder (Highveld Lions), Lungisani Ngidi (Titans), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans).
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images