Khaya Zondo is relishing the opportunity to lead the South Africa ‘A’ team in the 50-over format when they face the England Lions in the UK.
Zondo believes that the squad is beginning to gel well as a unit off the field, though the ‘acid test’ of the team’s cohesion will undoubtedly come when his side is in the heat of a match situation.
‘The guys have responded well and there’s a lot of respect from individual to individual within the team. I think that’s the most important thing,’ Zondo said.
‘We’ve got that ticked and the rest is to see how the guys respond when we’re in competition, and there’s a bit of pressure applied to see whether we stick together or break apart,’ he continued.
The Dolphins player commented that the well-balanced nature of the squad will stand the team in good stead. The squad also has the added benefit of Proteas players such as Temba Bavuma and Tabraiz Shamsi, who will lend experience to a squad brimming with such exciting young prospects as Aiden Markram and Jason Smith.
‘I think we’ve got all our bases covered with seamers and spinners and batters, the only thing is we want to make sure we win this series, that for me I think is very clear,’ he said. ‘The team knows that and the coaching staff also want that.’
Zondo concluded by expressing his view that winning was the primary goal for the team and stressed that this would only happen if the team stuck together and supported each other well.
‘I think if we’re winning that will take care of itself. We’ve spoken as a team because we don’t want it to become an individual-based thing – that’s when things can just go down south,’ he said.
The tour includes three one-dayers against the England Lions and one four-day game against their English counterparts.
The team get their tour of England under way with a warm-up match against Yorkshire at Headingley on Saturday.