Donald won’t duck his responsibilities
Elgar hits double ton as SA A build good lead
“WE ARE at base camp right now, and we need to re-pack our bags, and start moving again.”
Allan Donald gets very animated when the topic of discussion turns to fast bowling and, more to the point, the challenges that are constantly thrown in front of modern leather-flingers.
The Proteas bowling coach has been there and done that, but even he is happy to be on the sidelines nowadays.
“Batting has moved on, especially in the past few years. In my day, you had the time to ease into a spell, and batters were looking to go along at three or four an over – now and then maybe have a hit at the end.
“Those days are gone now,” he says, starkly.
“If you are not on the money right away, these boys will cut you to pieces. Guys like AB ( de Villiers) and (Tillakaratne) Dilshan will lap you, even at 140km an hour, if you get your lines wrong. And they will lap you both sides of the wicket, too!”
Donald says he is well aware the results of the current tour have not been pretty, but he says there is a method to the supposed madness of going into a hoodoo destination without your biggest assets.
“It’s fantastic. I think it is a great idea. We are fast-tracking these guys. They are learning, against pretty tough opposition, and are doing it without the top bowler in the world.”
Donald says that the squad may well reap the rewards down the line.
“Of course we want to win, but this is also a learning curve for these youngsters.”
Donald says in two years, South Africa’s attack will be all the better for the hard knocks they are taking right now.
“We simply cannot afford to be one-dimensional anymore. And by that, I don’t just mean bowling pace. If you are swinging the ball, but only in one direction, that also becomes predictable, and the best players will work you out and take you apart.”
Donald admits the Proteas have a weakness at one of the most crucial points of the oneday game; bowling at the death.
“Absolutely. We have to learn how to close games out. It is an area that we are looking to address, but that is where certain skills have to come in,” he points out, warming to his task.
“Reverse swing is what the game requires now. Jimmy Anderson is probably the most skilful exponent of it at the moment, and there is nothing more exciting than to see a batsman who doesn’t know which way the ball is going to next,” he chuckles.
“In my day, I played against two of the very best at it. Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram did amazing things with the ball, and batters didn’t have a chance.”
The question, of course, is where are the South African swing merchants?
“There are guys who have shown promise. Some of them are outside this group that is here right now, youngsters like Marchant de Lange and Hardus Viljoen. They have shown that they can deliver at domestic level,” he enthuses.
“The trick for guys like that, and I keep telling them that, is to do it consistently. Don’t be a flash in the pan, and then disappear when everyone is watching. You need to deliver, consistently, and then you will get the rewards.”
Donald says the rapid rise of Viljoen excites him, even if the Lions tormentor is still raw and untested at a higher level.
“He is a big, strong lad, who bowls a heavy ball. I like that he is at you all the time, and his time will come,” Donald states.
“The key now, looking to the World Cup in 2015, is to be absolutely clear in our thinking. When we get into those games, we need to have at least two guys who know exactly A STUNNING double century by Dean Elgar ensured the South African A side passed Australia A’s declared first innings score to take the lead by 140 runs with three wickets remaining on Day 3 of the match at the LC de Villiers Oval in Pretoria.
Elgar racked up 268 runs off 438 balls and the left-handed batsman’s innings eventually came to an end when he was stumped by wicketkeeper Tim Paine off the bowling of Glen Maxwell.
Elgar was well supported by former Cobras player Thami Tsolekile, who notched 159. He was dismissed by a catch by Aussie first innings hero David Warner off the bowling of Fawad Ahmed.
The pick of the visitors bowling attack was Ahmed who took 3-177 in 42 overs.
Yesterday, Elgar and his skipper, Justin Ontong shared a crucial 103-run fourth-wicket partnership to steer the hosts back on course before Ontong had his stumps disturbed by Moises Henriques on 60 off 87 balls.
At the close of play, Simon Harmer (29) and Kyle Abbott (6) were at the crease to take SA A to 614/7.
BOWLING MAESTRO’S: Bowling coach Allan Donald shares some pearls of wisdom to the world’s number one bowler Dale Steyn during a Proteas training session in Newlands earlier this year.