Maketa: reinforced squad can challenge India

Powerade SA A coach Malibongwe Maketa

Powerade SA A coach Malibongwe Maketa

South Africa A coach Malibongwe Maketa believes experience will play a key role in their two-match Test series against India A starting on Monday, saying he expected the vastly changed squad to challenge the hosts in Trivandrum.

The tourists went down 4-1 in their five-match one-day series at the same venue in Kerala state that concluded on Friday.

Every one of the matches was hit by rain, meaning what was meant to be a 50-over sequence of games, ended up being 20 over games.

“After the disappointment of the one-day series, we look forward to the tests,” head coach Maketa said. “I must state, though, that we weren’t too disappointed with the way we played in the one-day series.

“It was unfortunate that they turned out to be T20 games due to all the rain. On our prep, we brought a team that was set up to play 50-over cricket.

“We take a lot of positives that the guys went out and looked to play positively and play situations. There were a lot of good things that came out from there.”

South Africa wrapped up preparation for the game at the Greenfield International Stadium on Sunday with a whole host of reinforcements looking fired up for the challenge ahead.

Standard Bank Proteas Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Piedt and the uncapped Senuran Muthusamy, who are all in the Test squad to face India next month, have linked up with the SA A team, giving them a strong feel ahead of the two games.

Maketa believes their arrival could also change the dynamics of the tour. “Looking ahead to the four-day series, it is a totally different team,” the coach said. “There’s experience, there’s guys that have had a taste of India.

“For me that’s quite encouraging that we’ve got a lot of guys who are preparing to play against the main team, join the Proteas, and from that alone, with the experience, I foresee us really putting up good performances and doing really well in the test matches.”

The squad also includes others on the fringes of the national team and Maketa feels they have a big chance of coming away with something from India.

But he has challenged his players to maintain their disciplines, adding that mental strength will be key to the outcome.

“We came here knowing it’s going to be tough, especially in the test matches where we have to be disciplined and execute our skills for longer periods of time,” Maketa concluded. “And make sure we build pressure with the ball and then absorb pressure with the bat.

“From all those little disciplines, and that’s what we’ve prepped for, we want to make sure we go out there and execute those simple skills that will help us win this game and hopefully the series.”

SA A four-day squad: Aiden Markram (Multiply Titans, capt), Theunis de Bruyn (Multiply Titans), Zubayr Hamza (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Lungi Ngidi (Multiply Titans), George Linde (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Pieter Malan (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Eddie Moore (Warriors), Senuran Muthusamy (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Marco Jansen (VKB Knights), Dane Piedt (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Wiaan Mulder (Imperial Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Multiply Titans), Lutho Sipamla (Warriors), Khaya Zondo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins).