If the Proteas are going to somehow stop India’s spin wizards – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – from totally destroying them in the current ODI series, they can take cue from Khaya Zondo.
According to Dale Benkenstein, the national team’s batting coach, the Dolphins captain and debut Sunday in Centurion showed the type of intent needed against the two tweakers.
Chahal and Yadav took 8 wickets between them as the Proteas were bowled out for 118, their lowest ODI total ever at home.
Zondo though made a competent 25.
“Khaya looked very comfortable. I thought he played the spin very well,” said Benkenstein.
“What I liked is that he tried to push on and try and get us to a winnable score. Everyone obviously wants to carry on and bat deep but I just felt that if we did that, we would’ve only got to 220. That wouldn’t have been enough.
“We saw the attacking mindset of the Indian batsmen. At least Khaya had the awareness that he was in. He was picking the bowlers and he was trying to get us to a winning total and not just a manageable total. I thought it was a good debut for him.”
Zondo was out when he skied a slog sweep yet Benkenstein actually wants his batters to be more fearless than creeping into their shells.
“We’ve got to try and keep the batsmen as positive as we can against the spinners. You need to look to score runs all the time,” he said.
“There was intent in this game I felt. There were a few balls where we looked to score but the ball straight to fielders and got out. I’d rather have them getting out that way than being too scared to hit the ball. We can learn a lot from the way the Indian play our spinners. Every poor ball they try to hit to the boundary.”
With Quinton de Kock now also out for the rest of the series due to a wrist injury, South Africa’s batting resources are now stripped bare to the bone.
Titans keeper Heinrich Klaasen is now expected to make his debut at Newlands on Wednesday with stand-in skipper Aiden Markram moving up as opener with Hashim Amla.
Benkenstein remained defiant though.
“I’m convinced this is the best team we have currently. The positive thing is that we haven’t even played at 50% of our best level.”