Cape Town - Proteas assistant coach, Adrian Birrell, says the squad is driven and determined to turn around their performances in the fourth Freedom Series Test match against India starting at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Thursday.
Birrell insists no extra motivation is needed to inspire the players after a deflating series loss, and that the pride and honour that comes with each Test match opportunity is enough to pump the adrenalin.
“Every Test is very important to every single player,” Birrell said in Delhi on Tuesday. “We’re representing our country and it’s another Test. Although the series is gone we’re looking to play good cricket. We haven’t played good cricket yet and we have one last opportunity to turn that around. Every single player is determined to put a good performance forward in this Test match.”
The batsmen will need to express the same fight and application shown by Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis during their 72- run partnership which lasted nearly 50 overs in Nagpur, if they are to give themselves a chance of competing against India’s spinners. The coaches have been proactive in their preparation this tour and have tried to simulate the Indian conditions along with the off-spin, left-arm and leg-spin variations that make up India’s spin attack.
“They (Amla and Du Plessis) could have folded quite easily against a total that was really beyond us, but they showed good fight,” Birrell said. “Hopefully we can see that in the next Test, show that we’re here to fight. I liked Hashim’s words – win or lose, do it honourably. That was the case in the last Test and hopefully we’ll do that again in this Test.
“We are trying to recreate the rough in nets, taking a stump and putting it behind the footmarks, to try and replicate the match situation,” he explained. “We have Claude Henderson, who used to bowl left-arm spin, now he throws left-arm spin, which he is very accomplished at. I used to bowl leg-spin, so I bowl from a shortened run to try and simulate Mishra, I’m not even close, but we are trying. And then we have a bunch of guys who try to deliver balls like Ashwin, so we try to make it as similar to the match.”
Dale Steyn’s availability for the match remains in doubt, with the medical team opting to make a call on Wednesday.
“He’s still nursing a bit of a groin injury,” Birrell said.
“With a fast bowler, a groin injury takes a little time to get right. We need him 100% fit before we play him in a Test match. He’ll undergo another fitness Test tomorrow so we can make sure he is 100% fit before making the decision on whether he will play on Thursday.”