T20 WC preparations as Walter mulls over IPL schedule

(L-R) PROTEAS’ batter and captain Temba Bavuma, head coach Rob Walter and bowling coach Eric Simons attend a practice session. | AFP

(L-R) PROTEAS’ batter and captain Temba Bavuma, head coach Rob Walter and bowling coach Eric Simons attend a practice session. | AFP

Published Mar 16, 2024


THE Proteas exceeded expectations in last year’s 50-Over World Cup by reaching the semi-finals when most did not give them a chance.

It is hard to deny the fact that coach Rob Walter and ODI captain Temba Bavuma led a successful World Cup campaign in India.

But that was last year and it is a different format to the T20 World Cup that awaits Walter and T20 captain Aiden Markram in the United States and the West Indies in June.

Walter told Independent Newspapers he appreciates that they now need to start afresh leading into the showpiece event.

“The first thing is to appreciate that no World Cup is the same, so this T20 World Cup is its own event. I don’t want to say we start again, but we do because this is T20 Cricket. It’s a different format and potentially a few different faces here and there. Things will be different,” said Walter.

“Our lead-in to this World Cup is totally different (to the 50-Over World Cup).

“We had a nice camp prior to the 50-Over World Cup. We had a good lead-in, whereas with this T20 World Cup, the players are only arriving in the World Cup four days prior (due to Indian Premier League being scheduled to finish five days prior to the World Cup).

“So we have to hit the ground running, try to find a way for freshness and mental freshness. It’s a totally different set of circumstances, but whenever South Africans take the field there’s an expectation of performance and success, so that does not change.

“We will have a strong group of players, guys [who are plying] their trade in T20 cricket all over the world in different leagues. So, it will be about finding a way of coming together very quickly and playing that sort of template and brand of cricket that we tried to establish over the last year or so.” he added.

Proteas fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, is likely to arrive earlier than the rest at the World Cup, as Cricket South Africa announced yesterday that the 27-year-old will miss the 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League due to a lower back injury.

Ngidi is expected to return to action in the second-half of the ongoing Cricket SA T20 Challenge for his domestic team, the Titans.

With the World Cup being in the US for the first time, Walter is aware they will have to read the conditions and find the best playing method quicker than the rest of the teams to have an edge over the opposition.

“The reality is that our blueprint in T20 cricket is very similar (to ODI cricket), but you just have less time. I think this World Cup will be really about assessing the conditions and being able to find the method as quickly as possible,” said Walter.

“There’s no previous intelligence in terms of the pitches and the conditions. It’s brand new conditions for everyone, so the team that responds quickest to the conditions and finds the method is the team that’s going to inevitably win. For me that is going to be the key.” he concluded.

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