fast little loans
Johannesburg – With a more settled side, a captain now clear about his various roles across three formats and the confidence that comes with a thumping win in the opening game of a five-match series, South Africa’s next target is to ensure the standards achieved in Bloemfontein on Sunday don’t slip.
Consistency has bugged the one-day team for much of the period that Gary Kirsten has been coach, but a lot of that has had to do with the tinkering (or exploration) with personnel that Kirsten and the selectors have been engaged in recently.
Far more attention will be given to the limited overs formats in the next few months starting with the series with Pakistan, and then the ICC Champions Trophy, a tour to Sri Lanka (only T20 and ODI matches) and the October/November trip to the United Arab Emirates which will also feature a couple of T20s and five ODIs, besides three Tests.
The squad picked for the series with Pakistan looks a more stable combination, there was, De Villiers said – in reference to his own role across the three formats – far greater clarity about how the side will function which will make the creation of strategies and making players responsible for implementing them, easier.
“Bloemfontein was definitely a step in the right direction, but we’re way off where we want to be,” he said ahead of the second Momentum ODI in Centurion on Friday.
Across all three departments – batting, bowling and fielding – South Africa were the superior side in the first match and it told in the outcome. However, as De Villiers mentioned on Thursday, they are still far from being the perfect ODI outfit.
“We know there’s no such thing as a perfect team, we’re not there and we are not trying to be that, we just want to improve every game.”
Rather, they are looking to build on wins, put a string of them together and create the kind of consistency that De Villiers has enjoyed in the Test side.
“Consistency is different for the public than what it is for us. I believe we are doing things more consistently good than normal, we’re preparing very well and everything we do with Gary has been good. I believe the performances will eventually be more consistent.”
Picking up a third ODI win in a row today would help to forge the kind of consistency De Villiers seeks. The last time such a sequence was achieved was in New Zealand a year ago, but since then Kirsten has utilised his “exploration” strategy to give the likes of Quinton de Kock, Farhaan Berhardien and Ryan McLaren a run.
South Africa were only expected to make a decision about Dale Steyn’s inclusion last night, but De Villiers explained on Thursday that if he didn’t play in Centurion he would definitely do so at the Wanderers.
Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq has called on his team to show more aggression with the bat, while his spinners – his side’s major weapon – must improve their lengths to put the South African batsmen under more pressure.
There was likely to be a change to the bowling line-up, with an extra fast bowler – probably Wahab Riaz – set to be added to the starting XI.
Misbah was coy about how the extra pace bowler would fit into the starting line-up. Clearly he still wants all his spinners, but he is loathe to tinker too much with the batting line-up either. If Riaz is to be accommodated it could be at the expense of Shoaib Malik or Asad Shafiq.
South Africa showed they were also happy to be flexible in Bloemfontein with De Villiers batting at No3 ahead of Colin Ingram, and it could become a regular occurrence. “I’d like to bat for as long as possible especially when the conditions are good. When we have a nice foundation set I’ll go in at three.”
South Africa (likely): Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Colin Ingram, AB de Villiers (capt), Faf du Plessis, Farhaan Berhardien, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Pakistan (likely): Nasir Jamshed, Mohammed Hafeez, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Misbah ul-Haq (capt), Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan.
UMPIRES: (Standing) Billy Bowden (NZ) and Adrian Holdstock (SA). (TV) Kumar Dharmasena (SL)
MATCH REFEREE: Andy Pycroft (Zim)
TV: SuperSport 2, 2pm
Radio: Radio 2000