Bengaluru - ‘A series is won by 15 players, not just 11.’
These were the reassuring words from Proteas captain, Hashim Amla, on the eve of the second Test against India starting at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.
The Proteas will be without the leaders of their attack in Vernon Philander (ankle injury) and Dale Steyn (groin injury), but take solace from their fast-bowling depth which has been boosted by the arrival of Kyle Abbott on Friday morning.
“Dale and Vernon are ruled out for this match,” Amla said to the media on Friday in Bengaluru.
“Obviously losing Dale, the best bowler in the world and Vernon, arguably the best all-rounder, certainly changes the dynamics of the team. The guys who are going to be replacing them are quality cricketers. We are fortunate to have great depth in our bowling attack and if you are going to win a series it is won by 15 players and not just 11. Although it is early in the series to have lost Dale and Vernon, I still think we have a potent bowling attack to back it up.
“Kyle for the last couple of years has been one of our outstanding reserve bowlers,” he said.
“Whenever he has had an opportunity to play for us in T20’s, One-Dayers and tests he has done exceptionally well. It’s great to have him back. He brings a little bit of what Vernon brings in terms of consistency with the ball, you kind of know what you are going to get. He is consistent with where he lands the ball, he has a lot of control and has a great know-how of what he wants to do.”
The good news for the Proteas is the return of Morne Morkel and JP Duminy from injury. Duminy, in particular, adds stability to the middle order and is also a handy extra option with the ball.
“JP has been a quality player over many years for us,” Amla said.
“He bats in a crucial position down at five, six and even seven at times in all formats, that is normally the business end of the game. He brings a lot of know-how and experience to the middle-order and his off-spin has been vital for us.”
Amla says the squad hasn’t been distracted by the celebrations and focus on AB de Villiers’ 100th Test match, and would like nothing more than to give him a match to remember.
“We know as a South African to play 100 Test matches is an amazing feat,” he said in praise.
“We have celebrated that and hopefully when he gets on to the park tomorrow he will have a wonderful game and we can win the test match, that would be an ideal match for him and for us. It is great to have AB playing his 100th match and for us to have something to celebrate.”