Fielding coach Justin Ontong is confident South Africa will put in a characteristically solid display, despite preparation that was ‘not ideal’ ahead of this week’s World Cup warm-up fixture against Sri Lanka in Cardiff, Wales.
The Proteas have been practising at the Cathedral School in Cardiff prior to Friday’s fixture at Sophia Gardens, less than a week away from the World Cup opener against England at The Oval in London.
‘The school we’ve been practising at has accommodated us nicely. But just in terms of the fielding, the outfield is not ideal. It’s a little bit bumpy. But we’ve been focusing on our catching, and that’s really important,’ said Ontong.
‘We always work hard as a fielding unit, and we know the importance of fielding at a World Cup. We’re not taking it for granted, and we know that all of the other teams are strong in this department. Our goal is to be the best fielding team going into the World Cup. That’s something we always pride ourselves on, and something we’re working towards.
‘South Africa has always been up there in the top three when it comes to fielding. But going into this World Cup, all of the teams are on par, so it will be about taking your opportunities when they are presented to you in the field. That will be very important.’
The Proteas will clash with the tournament co-hosts, who currently occupy the No 1 position in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for ODI teams – and who welcomed a four-nil series victory over Pakistan earlier this month.
‘The excitement is sky-high. We can’t wait for the tournament to start now. That’s all we want. It’s just the last couple of days of preparation now before that first game against England. We’re just looking forward to that first game. The guys are raring to go,’ added Ontong.
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