SA not tak­ing limp­ing Lankans lightly

Proteas know that the Islanders will not be a walk-over, es­pe­cially at a big tour­na­ment such as the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA

SOUTH Africa are not the only team with in­jury con­cerns, ahead of to­mor­row’s Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy open­ing match in Group B.

While Im­ran Tahir and David Miller are mak­ing en­cour­ag­ing progress with their ham­string strains, the news is not so good for Sri Lanka, who look al­most cer­tainly to be with­out their cap­tain and tal­is­man, An­gelo Mathews.

He is nurs­ing a calf in­jury, and the omens are not good for a man who is fresh off a hard-hit­ting 95 against Aus­tralia in the warm-up games.

South Africa, mean­while, go into to­mor­row’s match with a great re­cent record against Sri Lanka, but JP Du­miny warned that his­tory counts for noth­ing at a tour­na­ment like the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

“We do have a good record against them, but the past is the past.

“Pretty much ev­ery game is a knock­out game, so both teams come into the tour­na­ment with a clean slate,” the se­nior bats­man warned.

“We have got to make sure we fo­cus on our pro­cesses, and play our best cricket,” he told re­porters be­fore the team’s prac­tice at the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics, of all places.

Du­miny added that the team was in a good place, and had taken a lot out of the England se­ries, de­spite re­sults not go­ing their way com­pletely.

“I think the tim­ing was per­fect, just be­fore the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

“It gave us a chance to adapt to con­di­tions – to know what is good and bad, so we take a lot out of it.”

Early sum­mer in England of­ten pro­vides a bit of nib­ble for bowlers, and Du­miny con­firmed that the Lord’s wicket cer­tainly had a bit about it.

“It’s just get­ting into the heart of sum­mer, so some wick­ets are pretty good for bat­ting.

“But, like we saw at Lord’s, there is also a bit in the wicket for the bowlers.

“That first hour and a half cer­tainly had a Test match feel to it.”

As a team, South Africa took a few days away from cricket mat­ters ear­lier this week, but they are now back in the zone. Du­miny re­vealed that, de­spite sev­eral play­ers now on the other side of 30, there was no ex­tra pres­sure on the play­ers from within, be­cause their win­dow is clos­ing.

“Ev­ery game for South Africa is im­por­tant.

“But there is no ex­tra pres­sure on us, like we ‘need to win it’.

“Of course, we want to win this tour­na­ment. We will take it one game at a time.

“There is al­ways ex­pec­ta­tion within the team, so that will never change,” he ex­plained.

As is the norm, South Africa have al­ready been in­stalled as one of the main con­tenders, but Du­miny main­tained that the team is not get­ting ahead of them­selves.

“We want to stay in the mo­ment, and not to look too far ahead.

“That is what we also got from the England se­ries.”

Ahead of them right now is Sri Lanka, al­beit a limp­ing is­land unit, es­pe­cially with­out their skip­per, who was their stand­out player when they vis­ited South Africa in the sum­mer, too.

The Lankans, of course, have strong South African in­flu­ence, and they will be des­per­ate to pro­vide the al­most oblig­a­tory up­set in this tour­na­ment.

South Africa, hav­ing bal­anced their books at the School of Eco­nom­ics nets, will be af­ter a com­plete per­for­mance, be­fore bat­tles with the might of Pak­istan and In­dia next week.

The talk­ing will soon be at an end, and the blur of the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy will be on full throt­tle.

Brace your­selves.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.