Cape Town - South Africa coach Russell Domingo says the team has
improved over the past few months because of a renewed commitment to the
national side ahead of T20 leagues.
Russell said the players had vowed to focus on the Proteas
ahead of the likes of the IPL and Big Bash, and had bonded together strongly as
a team this year.
As a result, they are looking to move back up the ICC Test
rankings after dropping from first to sixth at the start of this year. They
lead the Test series in Australia one nil.
Domingo said: "I am going to get abused for saying it
again, but there's so much cricket being played and when you do things like go
to a tour to West Indies, and guys are arriving a day before you play, the
intensity will never be what it needs to be.
"As a group, we've made a collective decision that our
main focus and our main decision is playing for our country and giving
everything when we play for our country.
"At times, with the amount of cricket you can play, it
can be seen to be playing another game, and it is not [just] another game when
you play for your country.
"That is something the team, the coaches, the
management, might all have been a little bit guilty of.
"Every single time you play for your country or you are
involved in a national game, that space has got to be honoured and respected.
Maybe that's the mental shift we have made.
"Maybe in the past, with the number of games being
played and the number of tournaments and events - IPLs, Big Bashes, CPLs -
maybe the focus wasn't where it needed to be."
He added: "We'll be making sure that mentally and
physically they are absolutely switched on when they play for their country.
"Maybe, in the past, it wasn't always that."