Gqeberha – South Africa ought to lean on Sisanda Magala and Quinton de Kock with their vast experience at Buffalo Park in East London ahead of the first one-day international against the West Indies on Thursday.
Proteas captain, Temba Bavuma, spoke on the eve of the first ODI between the West Indies and South Africa. Bavuma and Rob Walter were spotted having a chat out in the field on Tuesday morning as the Proteas continued their preparations.
It was not only Bavuma who Walter was spotted having a one-on-one chat with. The new coach made his rounds during the training session, as he spoke to each individual.
Bavuma attested that this move by Walter really hit deep in encouraging them as players, and also reassuring them individually that they are valuable members of the team.
“As players we like being made to feel valuable in the team. When Rob comes to you as a player, not only to speak about the game but also about life in general, it really gives you that assurance that he cares and that he recognises you as a valuable member of the squad,” said Bavuma.
“The conversations are also about the game and how we should think about the game. I like those conversations because they keep you focused on your game and thinking about how the team can get better. The rest of the guys have liked Rob and the others already had the opportunity to work with him at the Titans.”
This season, the wicket at Buffalo Park has proved to be a slow one that takes quite a lot of spin. Even during this season’s domestic cricket, particularly in white-ball competitions, pace off the ball seemed to be dominant, while high pace was a touch easier to deal with.
“We’ve already started having conversations about the conditions, how the pitch plays, the pace of the outfield and how the overhead conditions affect the game. All these conversations help us get ready to play here,” said Bavuma.
“We have guys who’ve played a lot cricket here at Buffalo Park, guys like Quinton de Kock and Sisanda Magala. We will rely on their experience, and to them to give us their thoughts and all the information we need.”
Luckily for the players, as Bavuma declared, Walter is quite similar to Shukri Conrad, under whom the Proteas have been successful in Tests, meaning the transition from red ball to white-ball cricket should be relatively seamless.
The youngsters, Tristan Stubbs, Ryan Rickelton and Gerald Coetzee, are in line for ODI debuts at some point in the series as per Bavuma, a move that is also motivated by the fact that this series plays no part in South Africa’s quest for qualification for the ODI World Cup.
“We want to win this West Indies series, but also give the other guys opportunities to showcase what they can do in this format,” Bavuma concluded.