SA keen to stay focused

Cricket : Happy to have started the tour on the right note, says Duminy

SA keen to stay focused

One of the better travellers to this part of the world, South Africa couldn’t have asked for a better start to a marathon journey after they pinned India 2-0 to clinch the T20I series, sending out a strong message of their intent.

“Yes definitely, we spoke long and hard coming here that it is important the way we start in the series especially as you said it is quite a long tour,” a delighted Jean Paul Duminy, who picked up the man of the series award after playing a blinder to help the Proteas chase down 199 in the first match, said on Thursday at the Eden Gardens.

“It can get quite painful if you start off in the wrong fashion. We are happy the way we have started but we also know that there is a lot of hard work ahead of us. It is going to be a hard fought ODI series leading into the Test series. It is a great start for us.

“As a team, we definitely expect them to put in a big performance in the two series. Yes, it was important for us to start well but we are under no illusion that it is going to be a walkover in the ODI series. We know that we have to fight hard and play well and take it one game at a time. Our focus is on Kanpur and hopefully we can start off well in (ODI) series as well. That is going to give us a lot of confidence. We know that they are a great ODI team so it is important for us to start off well in the ODI series.”

In the five times they visited India on Test assignments, the Proteas have remarkably lost just one series, managing to draw on two occasions and even posting a 2-0 series triumph in the 1999-2000 series. Dummy attributed South Africa’s cricketing success in general to a great team culture.

“I think we enjoy each other’s company. It doesn’t matter which part of the world we are in, no matter what challenges we face, we face it head on. There are not too many arguments going on in the team room. We find ways of enjoying ourselves in a long tour. That is important for us especially when you are coming to a place where there is not a lot to do outside the hotel. It can get you down at times, so it is important that we gel as team. We have got a great camaraderie within the team and everybody plays for one another. Everybody wants each other to do well and we enjoy each others’ successes. That is an important component for a successful team.”

Plenty to play for

South Africa coach Russell Domingo, while asserting that just two days of cricket has been played and the T20I success means little with a lot of battles left, said maintaining focus is essential.

“We know the ball is going to spin a lot, the crowd support is immense, the passion for the game, the constant scrutiny from the media and public. Dealing with the all the noise, I’m not talking about the crowd noise alone but even the media noise.

“I put on the TV and the only thing I’m watching is the highlights of the game and constant analysis. Keeping our focus amidst all this noise is what is very important.”

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