Russell Domingo has defended South Africa’s team selections after their 35-run loss to India in the fourth ODI on Thursday.
South Africa were dealt a double injury blow by the absence of JP Duminy and Morne Morkel. They opted to bring in all-rounder Chris Morris for Duminy and replaced Morkel with spinner Aaron Phangiso, but neither move worked particularly well.
‘It’s something that I suppose India also grapple with; the No 7 spot,’ Domingo said after the game. ‘That’s why JP has been so important for us. We were happy with the balance [on Thursday]. It would have been great to have had another batsman but it wasn’t meant to be. We felt we needed to strengthen our bowling attack because JP wasn’t there, but it didn’t work for us.
‘The Indian spinners outbowled us. They got more out of the wicket than we did. That’s why they are always tough to beat in India because they have quality spinners.’
Questions were put to Domingo with regards to the continued absence of Kyle Abbott in the starting XI, as well the form of Hashim Amla and David Miller, who have both been struggling with the bat for a while now.
On Amla, Domingo said: ‘Hashim is massively important for us. We’re not too concerned about his form at the moment because we know he will come good at some stage.’
On Miller: ‘To bat at No 5 is a very tough position. You often come in with three or four overs to play and if you get caught on the boundary people say you’re out of form. If you come in with 25 overs to go and four wickets down and get out then people say you’re out of form.
‘So you have to patient with players in that position, particularly in this country, because it is the hardest place to bat. The easiest place to bat is one, two and three. No 4, 5, 6 and 7 are the difficult places to bat. It has been a bit of a concern for us. When you watch him in the nets he is playing really well. Just things aren’t working for him at the moment.’
On Abbott: ‘You always want him in your side but it’s quite difficult at the moment. We felt here that we needed a second spinning option; without having JP there we felt that on this wicket historically the spinners seemed to be more effective than the seamers.’
Faf du Plessis was hit on the arm by AB de Villiers while batting, but Domingo said it was nothing serious.
‘Faf is just badly bruised,’ he said. ‘Some ice on it and he should be okay.’
There was talk on Twitter about South Africa possibly guilty of a slow over-rate again, but the ICC has not yet confirmed it. De Villiers will be suspended for the last game should it be true in what would be a hammer blow to South Africa’s chances of winning the series.
‘We’ve been grappling with the over-rate for a while,’ Domingo admitted. ‘We try and do as much as we possibly can. Obviously there are a lot of breaks and a lot of drinks; field changes when things get a little chaotic at the back-end. Hopefully we’ll be okay. I’m sure everyone wants AB to play.’