JP Duminy and Morne Morkel spoke about the challenges that the Proteas face ahead of their tour of Sri Lanka, GARETH STEVENS reports.
The Proteas attended a fitness and assessment camp in Pretoria this week to blow out the cobwebs ahead of their trip to Sri Lanka. The tour marks the start of a new season in which South Africa will attempt to regain the No 1 Test ranking under new leadership.
‘We want to back Hashim [Amla] and play well to make his job easier,’ said Morne Morkel. ‘It’s important for us to hit the ground running in Sri Lanka.’
‘Hopefully we can adapt to the heat quickly during the first couple ODIs, after preparing in winter conditions,’ continued the Proteas fast bowler.
JP Duminy is now a senior member of the squad and was considered one of four possibilities to take over the Test captaincy. He is optimistic about the team’s chances ahead of the tour.
‘We obviously don’t have a good record there, but I’m confident our squad can do well,’ said Duminy.
‘The Tests are important after losing the No 1 ranking, so I guess we have a point to prove,’ continued the Proteas left-hand batsman.
Morkel touched on the difficulties that his side, especially the bowling attack, will face in Sri Lanka. He went on to suggest what they will need to do in order to be successful.
‘They play unbelievably well at home,’ said Morkel. ‘On the flat wickets they have guys that can bat deep, like Kumar [Sangakkara], so early wickets are key. We need to put their top order under pressure and then use the spinners and reverse swing.’
A new era of South African cricket starts this season as the established core of the Test side has moved on, but Duminy believes the added pressure on the remaining senior players brings the best out of them. Encouragingly, he also feels that the old values are now entrenched in the Proteas change room.
‘The culture is there to stay,’ said Duminy. ‘We understand what we stand for and what is required.’
Here are the South African Test and ODI squads that will tour Sri Lanka:
Test squad: Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, C), Quinton de Kock (Lions), AB de Villiers (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Wayne Parnell (Warriors), Alviro Petersen (Lions), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Stiaan van Zyl (Cape Cobras).
ODI squad: AB de Villiers (Titans, C), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Quinton de Kock (Lions), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Beuran Hendricks (Cape Cobras), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Jacques Kallis (Cape Cobras), Ryan McLaren (Dolphins), David Miller (Dolphins), Morne Morkel (Titans), Wayne Parnell (Warriors), Aaron Phangiso (Lions), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras).
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