BATSMEN Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn and Jason Smith all felt they returned from the recent spin bowling camp in India more equipped to play in those conditions.
The trio were amongst 12 players chosen by Cricket South Africa (CSA) for the April 30 to May 7 trip to Mumbai.
Eight promising spin bowlers and four specialist batsmen made the journey to receive expert training on how to maximise their bowling skills and better face some of the world’s best spin attacks.
“It was a wholesome experience in conditions that were very foreign to us,” Markram reflected. “But in the same breadth it is a great opportunity to learn as much as we have done. So I feel blessed to have been part of it and I really enjoyed it.”
The Multiply Titans opener attended the camp after a stellar debut season at franchise level, which was crowned by him walking away with the Domestic Newcomer of the Year prize at a glittering CSA awards function in Kyalami on Saturday.
The 22-year-old said that learning from Indian coaches was especially useful for him.
“I think it was good to be sponging off the Indian coaches,” Markram added. “They obviously have their own ways that have worked over the years.
“Watching how they approach an innings, they almost dare to do anything, which is their mindset, and I suppose that’s why they’re a nation that plays such entertaining cricket. That’s what probably stood out for me the most, which is their approach.”
De Bruyn, who excelled for the VKB Knights by guiding them to a first Sunfoil Series in almost a decade, felt the trip was very beneficial.
“It was challenging, but a wonderful opportunity to come out to India and realise how to play in these conditions,” he stated.
The 24-year-old, capped by the Standard Bank Proteas in their final Test of the season against New Zealand, admitted that playing in all conditions was key to forging a successful career.
He added: “We can’t only be players that play well in South Africa, we need to adjust our game to wherever we play in the world.
“You have to learn to create a few more shots to be able to get you out of jail and to unsettle the opposition. Here you’re a sitting duck and they really get on top of you if you sit back to much. So those are things you need to learn and to get this opportunity to see the expertise they have here first hand, it’s been a wonderful opportunity.”
Smith, 22, is another player that had a solid first full season in franchise cricket. The all-rounder was nominated alongside Markram for the Newcomer of the Year prize. It was his second time on the trip and he thought the camp was more challenging this time.
“I learnt a lot compared to my previous experience when we played on a lot more flatter tracks,” he said. “This time the wickets were a lot slower and turned more.
“But I’ve had to learn different methods to try and score runs, being a bit more positive in these kind of conditions. The camp itself gives us a lot more belief in ourselves when it comes to playing spin, that for me is fantastic.”