South Africa will have to adjust accordingly to the unknown conditions at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom for the second One-Day International against New Zealand on Sunday. The Proteas’ last match in Potch was against the New Zealanders in 2013, where Ryan McLaren hit a last-ball six to seal a consolation win in their 2-1 series loss. The Proteas will have a training session at the ground on Saturday afternoon, their only assessment of the conditions ahead of Sunday’s match.
Leg spinner Imran Tahir says: ‘I haven’t gotten a lot of favour from South African pitches for the last few years since I started playing cricket, the pitches are flat everywhere. This is the first time that we are playing cricket in South Africa at this time of the year and we have been playing on good surfaces. For me as a bowler it makes you better, you will end up going against your plans if you worry too much about the conditions. The most important thing is to adjust really quickly and to stick to your plans.’ Tahir says the opportunities given to the fringe players will benefit the system and says he thrives under the pressure to keep his spot when he is rested for certain series.
He spoke fondly of the team’s newest leg-spinner, Eddie Leie, whom he says he has good variations and a long future ahead: ‘I was very pleased with that, especially coming in after a break. I was lucky that I was playing for Nottinghamshire so that helped me keep me in the game in terms of my cricket. I’m not one of those guys who wants to take a break, I always like to play cricket, it keeps my game up. It was a great team effort, the batsmen got us a good score and we bowled well as a team to get the win. The coaches know what they are doing, I don’t have any issues with their plans. There are a lot of youngsters coming up so it’s a good thing for them to get an opportunity. It’s good for South African cricket for them to show what they can do.’
Former South African coach, Ray Jennings, hosted an intense the fielding session with the squad at Bidvest Wanderers on Friday morning, a welcome change-up for a squad that prides themselves on their fielding. Tahir says: ‘It was a great session. The guys took it very seriously, we are known as a nation as one of the best fielding sides in the world so it was good for us to sharpen our skills. It’s very easy to get into a comfort zone with fielding because we have such good fielders but it a necessary session which helped to wake us up a bit.’