The five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against England is an opportunity for the Proteas to build on their winning consistency in the format. The Proteas enter the series on the back of a historic 3-2 series win against India in India, and some confidence after the Test match win last week. South Africa coach, Russell Domingo, expects a high-scoring contest with the number of explosive batsmen in both squads, but believes there is little to separate the fourth-ranked Proteas and sixth-placed England.
He says: ‘There is always pressure when you play international cricket. There are no soft series or less important series, they are all important particularly coming off a Test series loss. We have played good one-day cricket of late; we won in India, beat New Zealand at home, so our one-day side is there and there about. We are ranked number four in the world and we want to try and continue playing good one-day cricket. In South Africa we will always want to be regarded as favourites in home conditions. We have a good and settled side, we have been playing really well and we have some of the best one-day batsmen in the world. They are two very closely matched sides, but I do feel that we can go into this series confident knowing that we have played a good brand of one-day cricket lately.’
The coach stressed the importance of managing player workloads this series, with the addition of Marchant De Lange bolstering the depleted pace resources. The Proteas have been plagued with injuries throughout the summer, a frustration which has some good as it’s an opportunity to test the depth of the players at hand. Domingo says: ‘Marchant gives us more options with our fast bowlers because there is no Steyn, no Philander, no Kyle Abbott. We need to manage the workloads of Morkel and Rabada who have played a lot. We need to broaden our fast bowling base for this series. We have had a lot of injuries of late. Not having Dale and Vernon was a big blow but it’s an opportunity to test the depth of South African cricket and to provide opportunities for the fringe bowlers to step up and put in some good performances. The big concern is the fact that Rabada and Morkel have played a lot of cricket of late and have bowled so many overs, we need to manage them over the next few days.’
The first ODI takes place at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.