The Castle Lager Proteas have prepared themselves for stiff competition in the upcoming three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand starting in Tauranga on Tuesday.
Proteas coach, Russell Domingo, has labelled the home team as a “tough outfit”, and expects a competitive series regardless of the gap between the sides on the ICC Reliance ODI rankings.
“We know that New Zealand are always a tough outfit,” Domingo said after the squad’s first training session at the Bay Oval on Thursday afternoon.
“Our record in New Zealand shows that they have beaten us 16 times and we have only won eight matches or something to that effect. Our record in Australia is better than that; we have beaten Australia more times than they have beaten us in Australia. It shows how difficult New Zealand are to beat at home, we know it’s going to be a tough series for us.”
AB de Villiers’ men have had a successful year on the road, winning a hard-fought series against Sri Lanka and the triangular series featuring Australia and Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe. The winning culture has allowed the selectors to maintain consistency in selection, an encouraging sign with less than four months to go until the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“It’s quite a settled team at the moment,” Domingo said. “We have played a good brand of cricket for the last five or six months. We beat India, Sri Lanka away, Australia and Zimbabwe away so we are quite happy with where we are at the moment.”
“Every game leading up to the World Cup is going to be very important for us,” Domingo stressed.
“We want to have a settled and confident side when we get to the event. The way we are playing our games now will hopefully be an indication of what we can expect to do in the World Cup. We have been planning for this World Cup for a while now and a lot of emphasis has been put into our one-day cricket for the last few months, we are looking to continue with that over the next period of time.”
The first match of the series takes place at the Bay Oval in Tauranga on Tuesday.