8.3 C
London
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Time to bloom … Bowling coach Eric Simons bullish ahead of Proteas’ Cup opener against Sri Lanka

- Advertisement -

Eric Simons has seen both sides of the ICC Cricket Cup coin.

Coach of the Proteas at the only African Cup ever in 2003, Simons was collectively part of a decision that sent out the incorrect Duckworth-Lewis total to Mark Boucher that led to the co-hosts exiting the tournament on home soil.

And then eight years later, he experienced the euphoria of guiding India, alongside his good mate Gary Kirsten, to an emotional Cup triumph in Mumbai.

But now, after a lengthy absence from international cricket, Simons has the Proteas crest back on his chest in the guise of bowling coach and he is hoping to lend his experience – which has since been enhanced with years of IPL duty with the Chennai Super Kings – to the Proteas Class of 2023 in India.

!function(e,t,r){let n;if(e.getElementById(r))return;const o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];n=e.createElement(“script”),n.id=r,n.defer=!0,n.type=”module”,n.src=”https://playback.oovvuu.media/player/v2/index.js”,o.parentNode.insertBefore(n,o)}(document,0,”oovvuu-player-sdk-v2″);

‘Valuable lessons’

The 61-year-old has certainly learnt valuable lessons from the 2003 Cup debacle, with the former Proteas all-rounder now a stickler for detail ahead of Saturday’s tournament opener against Sri Lanka in Delhi (10.30am).

“One of my key mantras as a coach is about how we plan. The better prepared we are, then the better we will be. If your plans are not clear, then you have to worry about the execution,” Simons told the media on Thursday.

“We had Mike Horn with the Indian team in 2011 and you will probably remember him as a South African explorer and his message to the Indian team was: ‘If I don’t prepare, I die!’.

“Preparation is crucially important, because it takes away some of the stress.”

Through no fault of their own, the Proteas’ preparations for their tournament opener against the 1996 champions at the Arun Jaitley Stadium have been disrupted.

Fast bowlers Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala were ruled out on the eve of departure, captain Temba Bavuma has flown close to 25 000km over the last week in travelling home and back to India and the Proteas only managed to get in three-quarters of a single warm-up fixture against New Zealand due to heavy rainfall.

Simons, though, is not too perturbed with the weather having affected the majority of the team’s build-up.

He still feels that the Proteas are psychologically in better shape than their opponents, especially with Sri Lanka having been dismissed for a paltry 50 in their last official ODI just about a fortnight ago.

!function(e,t,r){let n;if(e.getElementById(r))return;const o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];n=e.createElement(“script”),n.id=r,n.defer=!0,n.type=”module”,n.src=”https://playback.oovvuu.media/player/v2/index.js”,o.parentNode.insertBefore(n,o)}(document,0,”oovvuu-player-sdk-v2″);

In-form Proteas team

The Proteas, in contrast, are fresh off a three-game winning streak that saw them come back from 2-0 down to claim a 3-2 series win over Australia at home.

“The fact that they got bowled out for 50 is remarkable! There’s always a partnership somewhere that gets you to 110-120 but it happened,” Simons said.

“We, though, have to focus on what we want to do and how we are going to do it. But a team coming in on the back of that performance, we’re certainly not unhappy about it.

“Psychologically, it is going to be tough on them. I think we do understand them and the way we bowl doesn’t exactly suit the way they bat.

“So, if we stick to our plans and get fielders in the right positions, hopefully we can keep them under that pressure.”

!function(e,t,r){let n;if(e.getElementById(r))return;const o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];n=e.createElement(“script”),n.id=r,n.defer=!0,n.type=”module”,n.src=”https://playback.oovvuu.media/player/v2/index.js”,o.parentNode.insertBefore(n,o)}(document,0,”oovvuu-player-sdk-v2″);

A big part of that bowling strategy will revolve around being aggressive with the ball and that responsibility will most likely lie with pumped-up rookie Gerald Coetzee in the absence of the injured Nortjé.

“Someone is going to punch him (Coetzee) in the nose at some point!” Simons exclaimed. “That’s what this game is about, especially (in) India. I have no doubt about it.

“But how he responds is going to be important. I think it was a great learning experience for him against Australia: to come up against a very aggressive batting line-up.

“So, to see him come away from it with game-plans is a good thing. He is a very intelligent cricketer for a young guy.

“I do think it’s going to be a steep learning curve for him but I think he is someone with the material and resources to handle it. He understands his game.”

Possible Proteas team:

Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj/Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi.

@ZaahierAdams

Sport

!function(e,t,r){let n;if(e.getElementById(r))return;const o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];n=e.createElement(“script”),n.id=r,n.defer=!0,n.type=”module”,n.src=”https://playback.oovvuu.media/player/v2/index.js”,o.parentNode.insertBefore(n,o)}(document,0,”oovvuu-player-sdk-v2″);

Latest news
Related news