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Centurion – Honing their skills at death bowling was the major focus of South Africa’s bowling unit, said Proteas’ bowling coach Allan Donald in Centurion on Wednesday.
“We want to be the best death-bowling unit in the world and we want it very much,” Donald said.
“We want to close out games by putting the opposition under enormous pressure and, to do that, we want each and every one of our guys to have the confidence and the skill to be able to execute a yorker, at will, during a game.
“So we’re working very hard to upskill ourselves – not only at practicing with a ball that’s reversing but with a ball that’s not reversing. Nailing yorkers is our number one priority.”
Donald said the team’s training for limited-overs cricket had evolved and was now geared towards specific game scenarios and executing those required skills under pressure.
Donald described former Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram as the best in the world when it came to bowling yorkers – a delivery which hits the pitch around the batsman’s feet.
He said the Proteas’ bowling unit had watched footage of both Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis to understand what it meant to actually execute the skill.
“Talking it up is one thing, but delivering the skill is another. You always knew that when you were facing Wasim Akram at the death, there was almost no hope with the skill he brought to the table,” Donald said.
“He used to swing the ball from both sides of the wicket and that’s where we want to move to and where we want to take the skill – to be unpredictable, and not just one dimensional, when it comes to death bowling.”
Donald felt any bowler could hit the back of a length, or bowl a slower ball, or a slower-ball bouncer, but the ball that could win matches and get wickets was the yorker.
“I really believe that there is one delivery that takes care of everything and that’s a fantastic yorker,” he said.
“Whether it’s a wide yorker, or a yorker that is sliding into the pads or swinging away from a large angle, or away from a batsman playing across the line – that’s the ball that wins you games, and that’s why we are working so hard on it.”
The Proteas were due to train in Centurion on Wednesday but because of the rain, the training session turned into an optional indoor net session.
Donald was not unduly worried as he said the players had plenty of cricket under their belts with many of them involved in the current franchise Twenty20 competition.
Dale Steyn was back in the one-day line-up after a rest period but Morne Morkel was still only 60 per cent fit and would not be risked until later in the series.
Donald said they were expecting the Pakistan team to bounce back in the next one-day international in Centurion on Friday, after their defeat in the first match in Bloemfontein.
“Pakistan have an excellent attack especially in the quality of their spinners but we played them extremely well in Bloemfontein.
“However, we expect them to come back with a big onslaught and we’re looking forward to fronting up against them again.” – Sapa