Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj says he will stick to the same game plan if selected to play in the second Test match against Australia starting in Hobart on Saturday.
Maharaj showed his skill and temperament in placid spin conditions during his debut match in Perth, and was the perfect foil for the two-man seam attack during his marathon 40 overs in the second innings.
The conditions in Hobart have been traditionally known to benefit both seam and spin, with statistics showing that spinners have more five-wicket hauls in the third and fourth innings than pace bowlers, which could make him a valuable weapon. There is however, heavy rain forecast for Saturday and Sunday, which could have an impact on the make-up of the attack for the match.
‘Australia is not known for being a country where the ball turns a lot,’ he said after the Proteas’ first training in Hobart on Wednesday. ‘I’m going to stick to my game plan and hopefully that will be enough to help the team.’
The 26-year-old says he received advice before the series from fellow left-arm spinner, Paul Harris, and has identified his role in the team as more of a containing spinner in the seam-friendly conditions of Australia.
The vote of confidence from the coach, Russell Domingo and captain, Faf du Plessis, following his debut performance, which included the prized scalp of Australia captain, Steve Smith, is encouraging but he admits he will be taking it one game at a time in the ‘intense’ environment of Test match cricket.
‘Conditions play a major factor,’ he said of his role. ‘There will be a point in the game where I have to strike with the ball if it does start to turn or bounce, but for now I’m happy to hold up an end and let the seamers do the striking.
‘Paul gave me a few tips on what he thought it was like to bowl in Australian conditions,’ he said. ‘I was trying to replicate what he did, he was one of the most successful spinners for South Africa, I was trying to follow in his footsteps.
‘He said that your job is to rest the fast bowlers because conditions are in their favour rather than yours. You will pick up a few wickets here as long as you try and stop the game from one side and allow the seamers to strike.’