Lots of hard work ahead after heavy South Africa A defeat, admits Shukri Conrad

Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad has been in charge of the South Africa A team in Sri Lanka. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad has been in charge of the South Africa A team in Sri Lanka. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

Published Jun 14, 2023


Cape Town — SOUTH Africa A coach Shukri Conrad is “disappointed” with his team’s 160-run defeat to Sri Lanka A in the first unofficial Test on Wednesday, but claims it is all part of “character building”.

The tourists had done well to dismiss the hosts for 151 in their second innings with Senuran Muthusamy (5/53) claiming his second five-wicket haul of the match. The left-arm spinner finished with career-best match figures of 12/175.

SA A required 346 for victory, but the challenge proved to be as steep as the hills in Kandy with the top order once again not able to lay a platform.

“The top order has been disappointing rather than concerning,” Conrad told Independent Media from Sri Lanka.

“We haven't been able to get any good starts. Everyone getting starts in the second innings, and then not being able to convert it. Soft dismissals. That’s the disappointing bit.

“The trend has manifested itself. We’ve seen in the Proteas Test side, and now we’ve seen it here it in this side, and that speaks to the hard work that lies ahead, where the guys have to knuckle down and become a lot more desirous of doing the tough work.

“It was a tough wicket, but that’s why we came here. That’s part of the learning.”

Although not wanting to find excuses for the feeble batting efforts, Conrad’s planning has been disrupted through illness in the tourists’ camp. Tristan Stubbs was not able to bat in the second innings after falling ill on Tuesday, while Kyle Verreynne had also been ruled out of the first “Test”.

“Kyle is off sick. I had earmarked him to play both four-day games, because it would have been a wonderful opportunity to make a play to get back in the Test side,” Conrad said.

“Stubbo also got sick yesterday, so he hasn’t been able to come to the ground. But that’s what touring the subcontinent is all about. It’s character building, and guys really toughing it out.”

Conrad was, however, pleased with Muthusamy’s development in this first “Test”.

“He bowled splendidly in the second innings. Truth be told, he wasn’t that good in the first innings, but then the work the seamers did in the second innings allowed him to bowl the way he did,” Conrad said.

“He obviously took a lot of learnings from the way their spinners bowled on a wicket that took a bit of turn. It was great to see how quickly he learnt, and took on the mantle of being the frontline spinner. It is obviously critical for his development.”

The second and final “Test” will start next Monday.