Gibson encourages 'positive' Proteas batting

2018-01-10 10:59
Ottis Gibson (Gallo)

Cape Town - Proteas coach Ottis Gibson wants to see his batsmen playing positively, even on wickets where they are up against it. 

On a green Newlands wicket where 40 wickets fell in nine sessions, it was tough going for the batters from beginning to end. 

South Africa, having won the toss, opted to bat first and they soon found themselves 12/3. 

Yet, after an AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis-inspired recovery, they somehow got to 286. In the context of the game, that number was more than enough as the Proteas emerged as 72-run winners. 

What was striking about that first innings, though, was the run rate. 

For most of the innings the Proteas were going at well above 4 to the over and at one stage got up to 4.5. 

De Villiers' 65 came off 84 balls, Quinton de Kock's 43 off 40 and Keshav Maharaj's 35 off 47, and for the most part the South Africans were looking to score even when they were in trouble. 

It is a mindset that Gibson encourages, especially on wickets where there is a lot happening for the bowlers.

"If you think on a wicket like this as a batsman that there is always a ball with your name on it, then the simple approach is to make sure you get your runs before that ball gets you," Gibson explained.

"Try and play positively. In the first innings we lost wickets but we still scored positively and we got bowled out for 280.

"The pitches will lend themselves to pace and seam movement and batsmen have to adapt accordingly, but ultimately batsmen have to score runs while they’re there.

"If you bat for 15 overs and score no runs and then you get out, you haven’t really moved the game forward. The message that I’ve been giving to the guys out in the middle is to try as best they can to get runs before that ball gets you."

When asked if he considered himself an "adventurous" coach because of his outlook on the game, Gibson was not so sure. 

"I wouldn’t say I’m adventurous, but certainly positive," he said.

"I encourage the guys all the time to take the positive option, whatever that is. Batsmen are there to score runs and bowlers are there to take wickets.

"When you get out into the middle there is pressure on you to make an impact on the game and you feel your best approach is to be positive, then that’s how you must play."

The second Test will start at Centurion on Saturday. 

Read more on:    proteas  |  ottis gibson  |  cape town  |  cricket


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