Proteas coach Russell Domingo is happy with the amount of cricket his players have been playing ahead of the NZ series.
Domingo says his players are ‘hungry to put in good Test performances’ when South Africa play their two-match series against New Zealand, starting August 19.
The team is looking to climb up the rankings once again during their 11-Test season, which includes clashes against Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
‘We play 11 Tests this season and six are away, we don’t play a lot of Tests at home, it is the pinnacle for our players,’ Domingo said. ‘It’s the format that they look forward to the most because of all the history and stature that is associated with Test cricket. We are excited about it and are looking forward to it, the players are hungry to put in good test performances this season.’
A large chunk of the squad earned some game time playing for the South Africa A side and for their CPL and English county sides, which gives confidence to Domingo that his players are match ready, despite coming off the winter off-season.
After their 2-0 series win against Zimbabwe, New Zealand seem confident that they can earn their first Test series win against South Africa.
‘A lot of our players have been playing,’ he said. ‘If you look at the list, Elgar, Bavuma, Philander, Cook, Piedt have all just come back from Australia. They played two tough four-day games there and they played a couple in Zimbabwe. Amla and Du Plessis have been at the CPL. It’s a different format but they have been playing cricket. Dale has also been playing cricket so there is no feeling, in my opinion, of being undercooked. We haven’t played this format in nearly eight months but at least we have played a lot of cricket in different countries and different formats.
‘They seem to be a happy team at the moment,’ Domingo said when asked of his opinion of the Black Caps. ‘We know that they have never won a Test series in South Africa, that is a record that we want to maintain and hold on to. They have been playing good cricket, they have just come off a series win and have played good one-day cricket, we know it’s going to be a tough challenge for us but also for them.’
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