Proteas preparation a concern
Mickey Arthur (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The Proteas can forget about getting any meaningful preparation before their series against England.
Zimbabwe, against whom South Africa are scheduled to play two games to prepare for the series, were on Tuesday dismissed for just 44 runs against an equally inept Bangladesh in the fourth clash between these two teams.
It was the fifth-lowest total in the history of one-day cricket and Bangladesh reached the winning total for the loss of only four wickets to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.
Only Malcolm Waller (13) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (11) could reach double figures, with spinners Shakib-Al-Hasan (3/8) and Enamul Haque (3/16) in good bowling form.
Proteas coach Mickey Arthur put his team’s failure in the recent Champions Trophy series down to a lack of game time after South Africa played almost no cricket for more than two months ahead of the “mini World Cup”.
South Africa were already knocked out in the group phases after losses against Sri Lanka and England.
Arthur, who had to explain the Proteas’ struggles to the management of Cricket South Africa (CSA) last week, warned that they should not fall into the same trap before playing England in just over a week’s time.
CSA chief executive Gerald Majola then announced that the Proteas will play Zimbabwe twice – on November 8 in Benoni and two days later in Centurion – to warm up.
The batting performance was Zimbabwe’s third worst to date and the team also has the dubious honour of having posted 3 of the 10 lowest scores in cricket.
A further concern for Arthur is that anything but convincing victories over South Africa’s neighbours will have the alarm bells ringing. That said, easy victories may deprive the players of valuable batting and bowling practice.
The Proteas’ bowling in the last 10 overs requires sharpening up. That will not happen if Zimbabwe last for only about 25 overs as was the case in Chittagong on Tuesday.