'Fresh energy' will do SA good in ODIs

South African captain JP Duminy during the 3rd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and India at PPC Newlands on February 24, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
South African captain JP Duminy during the 3rd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and India at PPC Newlands on February 24, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

If you didn’t know better you might have thought JP Duminy had happened on a calamity before he spoke to reporters in Colombo.

“The guys seem in good spirits‚” Duminy said.

“You want to try and dust it off as quickly as possible and take out of it what you need to add value to the ODIs and the T20 and see how you can improve.

“These are the kinds of experiences you go through in your career — it certainly won’t be the last.

“You’ve got to learn from it and see how you can improve.”

In a cricket sense Duminy — along with Junior Dala‚ Reeza Hendricks‚ David Miller‚ Wiaan Mulder and Andile Phehlukwayo — had indeed happened on a calamity.

They have travelled to Sri Lanka to join the remnants of a South Africa squad who were hammered 2-0 in the Test series‚ and the visitors might have to count on the new blood to lift them out of their funk.

“There are quite a few guys coming in with fresh energy and that will definitely add to the environment‚” Duminy said.

The South Africans will hurt‚ not because they lost both Tests but because they let themselves down in a series in which Theunis de Bruyn’s 101 and Temba Bavuma’s 63‚ both in the second Test‚ were their only scores above 50.

The Lankans reeled off a century and seven 50s in conditions that‚ while obviously Asian‚ weren’t anything South Africa hadn’t seen and succeeded in before.

Worse‚ the home side were dominant enough to win both Tests inside six days of playing time with their spinners claiming all but three of South Africa’s 40 wickets.

So having a few new faces to look at — faces that haven’t been moping around the dressingroom these past few weeks — will do the visitors good.

It should also help that the pitches for the one-day series‚ which starts in Dambulla on Sunday‚ won’t be quite as spin-friendly as those prepared for the Tests.

But they will still be sub-continental pitches and South Africa will have to remember how to win on such surfaces.

In their previous ODIs in Sri Lanka‚ three of them in July 2014‚ Hashim Amla scored two centuries and AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock a hundred each. De Villiers also made a half-century.

Four years on De Villiers has retired‚ Amla is a fading‚ faltering star and De Kock hasn’t scored a century in his last 23 Test and ODI innings.

Imran Tahir and Ryan McLaren were South Africa’s top bowlers in 2014 in terms of wickets as well as economy. Neither is involved in the current series.

So that promised “fresh energy” will be more than welcome: it could be South Africa’s main weapon to try and ensure the five ODIs don’t melt into the kind of Groundhog Day gloom that made the Tests depressing to watch even from an ocean away.

With the World Cup only 10 months away‚ that’s a memory they won’t want to take home.

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