08 Mar PROTEAS AIM FOR BATTING IMPROVEMENT IN SECOND TEST
JOHANNESBURG: Proteas Test head coach Shukri Conrad is seeking improvements from his batting unit when they walk out for the second Betway Test against West Indies at DP World Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
South Africa won the opening fixture between the teams by 87 runs at Centurion to move into an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Barring a century from new T20 International (T20I) captain Aiden Markram and a half-century from former Test captain Dean Elgar, though, the batting was again a let down for the hosts, who have struggled in that department over the last year.
They had to depend on the bowlers to bail them out and coach Conrad knows all too well that there has to be more coming from the batting unit. Addressing the media ahead of the game, the coach said: “This ‘brand of cricket’ has been branded about quite a bit because there’s a lot of talk about how we want play our game and it will often play itself out in the batting department.
“It’s no secret that we weren’t particularly good at Centurion, yes we got away with a good result but truth be told, and we weren’t particularly good. The West Indies were good and the wicket was tough, but it doesn’t just mean we should roll over as we did the other day and have done in the past.
“But that brand is on the batting front. The brand on the bowling front I think was great. We played our four quicks and they showed what we are about there. I think there’s just a little bit of patience required in terms of the batting.”
To try and improve the batting, South Africa have included the in-form Ryan Rickelton in their XI for the game ahead of Keegan Petersen. Conrad explained that various factors contributed to the decision.
“We went with Keegan in the first Test simply because he was the incumbent,” he said.
“We believe he has a big role to play going forward, but more in the middle order rather than at top. Rickelton we feel deserves his chance, he’s been churning out the runs as we all know.”
Conrad broke from tradition on Wednesday when he named the starting XI before matchday. Elgar and Markram will open the batting followed by Tony de Zorzi, captain Temba Bavuma, Rickelton, Heinrich Klaasen, Wiaan Mulder, Simon Harmer, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee and Kagiso Rabada.
The changes mean that everyone in the squad will have had a game during the series. The Proteas do not have too many Tests scheduled in 2023, and because of this, Conrad admitted he had to try and find opportunities for everyone in his squad.
“It’s a unique set of circumstances because we don’t play a lot of Test cricket and that’s been well documented,” he added. “So I’ve got to find novel ways of finding out about more about these guys and so we’re giving everyone a chance. We’ll see how they react now and through the year we’ll create other opportunities.”
Proteas Test squad against West Indies
Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Gerald Coetzee (ITEC Knights), Tony de Zorzi (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Dean Elgar (Momentum Multiply Titans), Simon Harmer (Momentum Multiply Titans), Marco Jansen (Dafabet Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), Wiaan Mulder (DP World Lions), Senuran Muthusamy (North West Dragons), Anrich Nortje (Dafabet Warriors), Keegan Petersen (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Ryan Rickelton (DP World Lions).
South Africa Betway Test Series against West Indies
28 February – 04 March at 10:00
South Africa beat West Indies by 87 runs – SuperSport Park, Centurion
08 – 12 March at 10:00
South Africa vs West Indies – DP World Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications
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