The preparations and the set-up within the Proteas will give the home team the edge in the second Test against the West Indies, says Faf du Plessis.
The 18-Test “veteran” says that the team have taken into account the different nature of St George’s Park, a lower, slower surface than Centurion, where South Africa recorded their innings victory in the first Test last week.
“We have been practising for the conditions and we have adjusted our batting techniques,” he said. “The bowlers, too, know what they have to do.”
While the selectors are giving no hints as to the composition of the team, whoever comes in will feel comfortable in the set-up, says Du Plessis, alluding to the fact that someone such as Lions batsman Temba Bavuma could make his debut if the Proteas go for seven batsmen.
That is what is so wonderful about the Proteas,” said Du Plessis. “There is no such thing as a ‘junior player’. When guys come into the set-up, they don’t have to feel they have to prove themselves. They don’t have to feel that they have to score three hundred before they are accepted.”
Discussing tactics earlier, Du Plessis said; “The PE wicket is a lot slower and spin does play more of a role so I think their bowling attack will be a lot happier with these conditions. Their batting unit will also be happier, the ball will probably not be as quick and won’t seam around, it will be a normal PE wicket so it will suit their style of play.”
Bavuma said that if he got the opportunity, he would be comfortable in the environment. “I’ll just go out and play. This is not franchise cricket. But it doesn’t change the ball game for me,” he said.
Playing down at No 7 would not be a problem, he added. “I’ve been fortunate in my career that I’ve batted in most of the positions, at No 6 and seven. I do have some experience there. I’ve also spoken to the guys in the team and they’ve assisted me where they can.”
West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul has promised a better show this time around. “We’re disappointed after Centurion,” he said. “I think we’re a better team than that. We just have to put it behind us and take it as a learning experience and do better in this next match.”
With eight members of their squad under the age of 30, Chanderpaul predicted a change in fortune.
“They all have talent and are bright stars for the future. Hopefully in this match we can put it right and put some big scores up on the board.”