Captain Faf du Plessis has relished the insight and input of batting coach Amol Muzumdar ahead of the Proteas’ first Test against India in Visakhapatnam this week.
Muzumdar, who played two decades of first-class cricket in India, was appointed by the tourists for this tour after former batting coach Dale Benkenstein’s tenure was not renewed earlier this year.
He is working with a relatively new-look squad, after the Test retirements of fast bowler Dale Steyn and batsman Hashim Amla – and the inclusion of uncapped fast bowler Anrich Nortje, wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen and all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy.
‘It is a different language, different mindset and it is really refreshing to have someone with local knowledge. He has been with us for a short time and we already have had some good conversations,’ said Du Plessis.
‘It is a good time to be involved with a young team. A lot of senior players are out and the leadership group has changed completely. Time to grow new leaders, the next set of pacers, the next Hashim. I am excited about that.’
The Proteas’ last Test series in India was four years ago. The visitors suffered three defeats and salvaged one draw in 2015. Du Plessis was part of that squad and collected a mere 60 runs in seven innings, including three ducks.
‘What Test cricket, in general, does to you is if there is a flaw in your game, it exposes it. Obviously last time we came here as a batting unit and personally myself found it difficult in tough conditions. The fact is that I needed to get better from a defensive and technical point of view to adapt to play in tough conditions,’ he added.
‘It was tough for everyone, but it was a huge value for me. After that I started playing spin better. So I think all players have to go through tough times to make them better and understand where their potential weaknesses are. And then either you can disappear or come back stronger.’
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