• Proteas could mix it up

    Assistant coach Adrian Birrell has hinted that South Africa could give a few fringe players a chance in the last Test against India.

    The fourth Test, in New Delhi, starts on Thursday and although India have already won the series Birrell says they are determined to turn things around.

    Dale Steyn is a doubt for the match while Temba Bavuma might get an opportunity to play.

    ‘Dale is still nursing a bit of a groin injury,’ Birrell said. ‘With a fast bowler, a groin injury takes a little time to get right. We need him 100% fit before we play him in a Test match. He’ll undergo another fitness Test on Wednesday so we can make sure he is 100% fit before making the decision on whether he will play on Thursday.

    ‘Every single player is available for selection. They are not here just to make up the numbers. They are here to put their names in the hat. I would think, and I’m not a selector, that we might look to play one or two others and give them an opportunity. I’m really not in the best position to speak about selection but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one or two other faces in the team come Thursday.’

    After the ICC revealed on Tuesday they were investigating the Nagpur pitch, which was rated as ‘poor’ after the third Test, Birrell reiterated that South Africa had no issues with the wickets that had been prepared, even though not one of the matches so far had lasted more than three days.

    ‘We’ve had a look at the pitch [in Delhi]. We are expecting the pitches here to turn but this one looks like it will go more than three days. We are happy with that we’ve seen. Like every other pitch that we’ve been on we’ve been happy with what we’ve been provided with. We just haven’t played good cricket up until now.

    ‘We are not complaining at all. We are playing in India in Indian conditions. We haven’t played to our full potential.’

    Birrell said the situation in India was not an isolated one and should not be singled out.

    ‘I think you have to look at it beyond India and look at what is happening all over the world. There are quite a few Test matches finishing early. Very few go the full distance. We’ve just seen a day/night Test in Australia that didn’t go the full distance so there are a lot of Tests not going the full five days. There are very few draws around these days. I don’t know it’s because of T20 cricket.

    ‘The game is a lot faster than it seem to have been in the past. Runs per over is a lot quicker, but I’m not going to say whether it’s a good or a bad thing. Every nation will go out to win a Test series. India have beaten us and we’ve got no complaints because they outplayed us and it’s as simple as that.’

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