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Monday, November 28, 2022

The pitches at T20 Cup will suit Proteas, says Rassie van der Dussen

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Cape Town — Rassie van der Dussen believes the conditions for the T20 Men’s Cup in Australia later this month should be much more batter friendly than what the Proteas are currently experiencing in India, especially upfront in the Powerplay.

Van der Dussen, who is currently not in India with the Proteas and is “gutted” to be missing the T20 Cup with a finger injury, has been an interested spectator back home.

He could only look on in frustration as the Proteas slumped to 9/5 in the first T20I before again being reduced to 2/2 in the second match last Sunday.

On both occasions it was rookie left-arm bowler Arshdeep Singh that caused the damage by gaining significant swing through the air in both directions. New-ball partner Deepak Chahar has also played a significant part in maintaining the pressure.

This was all rather surprising considering India were without their first-choice new-ball bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvuneshwar Kumar, while also keeping pace merchants Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik and Umesh Yadav on the bench in the opening two games.

“There has definitely been an emphasis on selecting bowlers that can swing the ball both ways in the India side. It used to be that back in the day the Powerplay were the overs that you really took on, and were looking for 50-60 runs, but they have sought to have gone away from that,” Van der Dussen said at the launch of the T20 Womens’ Cup at Newlands.

“These wickets have suited the bowlers a bit more, it seems there is a bit of moisture. It’s difficult to say because I’m not there, but there is a genuine emphasis on skill rather than pace.

“If you look at Umesh, Siraj and Malik sitting on the bench for them. Everyone was raving about Malik after the IPL, but they have overlooked him. It is definitely skill rather than genuine pace.

“In Australia, there will be a lot more bouncy wickets. There are also bigger outfields. Teams bowl more back-of-length there, and not as full, because they want batters to hit to the square boundaries.

“It is interesting to see because in India the outfields are quite small and fast. In Australia I am not sure how much it’s going to swing, and that might be troublesome if it doesn’t swing for the guys who bowl at 130-135 km/h. It could then be a high-scoring Powerplay.”

The end-result of the Proteas’ disappointing Powerplay returns has been that the focus is squarely on the under-performing Proteas T20 captain Temba Bavuma. The skipper has been undone in both matches thus far, with Bavuma registering two ducks against the swinging ball.

With only Tuesday’s final game of the series to come ahead of the T20 Cup in Australia, there are many that have called for the in-form Reeza Hendricks to be recalled.

Van der Dussen believes the change in approach from bowling units has not only affected Bavuma, but other high-profile T20 openers around the world too.

“I think it is a confidence thing, opening bowlers are adapting to the T20 game, and if you look at proven performers like Jason Roy, Aaron Finch, those types of guys … they have really struggled over the last year or two opening the batting too,” Van der Dussen said.

“It seems like swing and skill rather than pace to try and take wickets in the Powerplay because if you take wickets in the Powerplay, then you dramatically increase the chances of winning the game.

“Death skills used to be a big talking point, but now it’s all about taking wickets upfront because if you don’t take wickets, then you allow guys like Miller to bat for 30-40 balls, they are going to hurt you.”

Van der Dussen has previously adopted a cautious approach to his T20 innings before exploding as it progresses. Without wanting to prescribe to other batters how to approach their innings, he does believe that sometimes it is worth assessing the conditions first.

“It is difficult to say which way is best. When the ball is moving, and the conditions are tricky, then you have to give yourself a chance. If you face 10-20 balls, the stats are there to prove, and take myself for instance, I strike at 150 after that, but every batter has its own blueprint and gameplan,” he said.

“Sometimes there are wickets that are really flat from ball one, like up on the Highveld, and you get really high-scoring games. But sometimes the conditions are tough and you need to adapt a little.”

The Proteas face India at Holkar Stadium in Indore on Tuesday. Start is at 3:30pm (SA time).

@ZaahierAdams

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