CAPE TOWN – Ashwell Prince believes the Proteas’ batting unit’s current struggles in the Test arena is of their “own doing” due to the pitches being prepared.
After the embarrassing 2-0 home loss to Sri Lanka, the microscope has been firmly on the South African top-order’s lack of runs. Even more alarming is that the barren run stretches back further than just the Sri Lankan series.
“I saw a stat showing that from the start of 2018 to date, there is not one Proteas batsman averaging over 40,” Prince said. “For me, that’s partly their own doing. This is what they asked for in terms of surfaces, what do they expect to get? If you want those surfaces then you (are) going to get batsmen struggling for runs.”
The Proteas team management have in the past publically expressed their desire for pitches during home Test series that favour their pace attack. This has caused some consternation with the Wanderers, particularly, last year falling foul of the ICC’s standards.
Although captain Faf du Plessis has stressed that the entire team fully supports this approach and that they are determined to work hard for “tough runs”, it has led to some senior batsmen searching for form.
Hashim Amla is, of course, one of those with the veteran opting to miss the ODI series against Sri Lanka in an attempt to work his way back into some sort of form at domestic level ahead of the World Cup later this year. Amla joined up with the Cape Cobras this week and is set to play against the Titans at Newlands today.
“Technically I haven’t watched enough of the Test series to make a technical comment,” Prince said of Amla. “But he trained with us yesterday and he looked a million dollars. I didn’t see anything particularly wrong. He moved really well into the ball. He was hitting the ball to all parts, really.”
The former Proteas batsman is also confident that Amla will rediscover his mojo soon.
“Hashim is an experienced player. It doesn’t take people that long. Learn to ride a bike and you always know how to ride a bike,” Prince said.
Newlands is certainly the place for Proteas coach Ottis Gibson to tune into today. Apart from Amla, the Cobras will also welcome back JP Duminy. The all-rounder is slated in for a crucial role in England and Wales later this year, despite Duminy not playing since last year’s Sri Lanka tour due to a shoulder operation.
It was expected that Duminy would be back on the park a fortnight ago already, but he has wanted to wait until he was completely ready, particularly with regards to being able to participate fully with both bat and ball.
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