March 5 2017 – STANDARD Bank Proteas coach, Russell Domingo, is confident his team will adjust to the quick transition from white-ball to red-ball cricket, ahead of the first Test match against New Zealand starting in Dunedin on Wednesday.
The squad arrived in the South Island of New Zealand on Sunday afternoon fresh from their 3-2 series win in the one-day leg of the tour and will be looking to make the most of the two days of preparation ahead of the match.
The Test players arrived in Auckland a week ago to acclimatise and to prepare for the three-match series, a valuable opportunity with the majority of the players making their debut trip to the island. Domingo says the injection of new energy and fresh mindsets from the incoming Test players will make it a seamless adjustment.
“Our nine new Test players have been training for the last week in Auckland,” Domingo said to the media on Sunday. “They are keen; they bring fresh energy, new thoughts, new ideas. We have a new captain who can’t wait to get going. We are comfortable with the short turnaround of three days and we should be good to go on Wednesday.
“It’s a totally different format, different squad and a different environment that a lot of them will be used to,” he said. “A youngster like Duanne Olivier, or Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar haven’t played Test cricket in New Zealand, it will be a new experience for them. For sure you get a bit of confidence, momentum and belief from the ODI series win, but both teams are 0-0 on Wednesday, we both have to start afresh.”
Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander have fully recovered from their respective injuries, and return to add valuable experience to the varied pace options which feature Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier, Wayne Parnell and Chris Morris. The Proteas’ attack was clinical in their last Test match against Sri Lanka in January – which was won by an innings and 118 runs – and with the addition of Morkel, will be relishing the opportunity in favourable New Zealand conditions.
“He played a couple of one-day games back home so it’s great to have an experienced bowler like Morne Morkel back,” Domingo said. “We know he is a big threat, he gets a lot of bounce, he is consistent in his areas, his experience is invaluable.” – ANA