South Africa have travelled to India and they are all set to take on the hosts in a limited-overs series. The series comprises five ODIs and three T20Is as well which will take place within a bio-secure environment (BSE) at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow. However, in a recent media interaction, South Africa Head Coach Hilton Moreeng reveals that Sune Luus and Co. are ready to get out of quarantine and start physically preparing for the upcoming series.
Notably, they arrived in the country on Saturday for the tour, which will begin with the five-match ODI series from Sunday. After reaching the sub-continent they had stayed in the mandatory quarantine and it is currently day five of six days for the South Africa players as they are on their first away tour of the COVID-19 era. But Moreeng said that they were prepared for the strict guidelines amid the crunch time of COVID-19 in the country.
“We knew what to expect before we arrived so we all were prepared for it,” he said. “I think all the players have now been exposed to bubble life, this being our second tour that we play within a BSE.”
“The difference this time is the six days that we have to quarantine. But the players have been in good spirits and they’re all looking ahead to the last day tomorrow. Then we’ll be able to go out and have an opportunity to prepare for a series against very tough opposition. Everyone is looking forward to it,” he further added.
However, the visitors will get two days of training before taking on the hosts in the first ODI on Sunday, March 7. The last time they toured to the country was back in September and October in 2019 when they lost the ODI series 3-0 and faced a 3-1 defeat in the T20I as well. Hilton Moreeng was the coach at the time also and he said that they have learnt a lot from that experience as well.
“We know Indian conditions are not easy for any touring team, so we’re expecting them to be tough,” explained the head coach. “Most of us have been exposed to these conditions as well, having come here before. The last visit was not a joyful one because of the way the results went, even though we worked and tried very hard.”
He continued: “But we learnt a lot from that and will see that in the results I’m sure with a lot of those players in this squad as well. It’s the first time we’ll be at this venue, so we’ll assess things once we exit the quarantine on Friday. We’ll then have an idea of what things might look like.”
While South Africa have already faced Pakistan in both white-ball formats and secured comfortable victories, this is going to be the first international series for Team India, who have last featured in the final of the T20 World Cup in Australia a year ago. Since then, they only played in the Women’s T20 Challenge in the UAE last year in November.
However, South Africa’s recent series was in Durban where conditions favoured spin bowling and Hilton Moreeng hopes that will help the team in India too.
“We have to get better in these types of conditions. We took a lot out of the conditions in Durban, so we were very pleased with that. We are anticipating similar conditions and that exposure might be a blessing in disguise for us,” Hilton Moreeng concluded.
South Africa Squad:
Sune Luus (C), Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tazmin Brits, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Anneke Bosch, Faye Tunnicliffe, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune.
Support Staff: Hilton Moreeng (Head Coach), Dillon du Preez (Assistant Coach), Sedibu Mohlaba (Team Manager), Tshegofatso Gaetsewe (Team Doctor), Abram Ramoadi (Performance Analyst), Molebatsi Theletsane (Physiotherapist), Zane Webster (Strength and Conditioning), Koketso Gaofetoge (Media Manager).
India vs South Africa Series Schedule:
7 March – 1st ODI
9 March – 2nd ODI
12 March – 3rd ODI
14 March – 4th ODI
17 March – 5th ODI
20 March – 1st T20I
21 March – 2nd T20I
23 March – 3rd T20I