Jun 082017

SA coach labels Pakistan as a ‘dangerous’ side after surprise defeat

BIRMINGHAM: South Africa knew that spin-heavy Pakistan were going to be a threat on an Edgbaston track that was used twice before in recent days.

But still they opted to bat first in a game that everybody knew could be affected by rain.

That’s why it was hardly surprising when South African coach Russell Domingo was grilled on his team’s decision to bat second in the ICC Champions Trophy game against Pakistan on Wednesday.

Asked whether the Proteas, currently ranked number one in the world, took Pakistan too lightly after their 124-run defeat against India last Sunday, Domingo said, “no complacency on our side. We played a game of cricket; Pakistan played better than us. That’s nothing to do with complacency today as far as I’m concerned.”

Domingo hailed Pakistan as a dangerous team.

“Pakistan, they are a proud cricketing nation. I know when they have a bad game, everybody jumps on their back and says how bad they are. I can tell you now, our position, I don’t think they are bad at all. They are a dangerous side. They have some world-class players. They are always going to be a threat.”

Domingo said his team won’t rue the decision of batting first.

“Hindsight is a great sight. It didn’t work out for us today. We just thought we would make first use of the wicket, considering it’s the third game on that particular pitch in the last five or six days.

“You generally think Pakistan’s spinners are a big strength of theirs, so we tried to make first use of the wicket. We knew there might be a chance of rain, but we also had reports saying that it might come after 11 o’clock and the game was scheduled to be finished at 9pm or 9.30pm.”

Domingo gave full credit to Pakistan’s spin trio of Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Hafeez for their role in their team’s 19-run win.

“Generally our sides play spin really well. We pride ourselves on the way we play against spin. The way we played India in terms of the one-day cricket in India, we played really well against Indian spinners in Indian conditions, in the one-day campaigns,” he said.

“We’ve beaten Sri Lanka under their conditions, and so it’s not a concern for me. Conditions suited them, and you have got to give Pakistan spinners credit, they bowled really well today.

“I think the disappointing factor is that not one of our top four got through the new ball to look after those spinners. So every time, there was a new batter coming in facing that spin. That’s always going to be tough to do against quality spinners.”

South Africa now face a must-win game against India on Sunday. One big concern going into that big match is the question mark on the form and fitness of skipper AB de Villiers, who was dismissed for his first-ever golden duck on Wednesday.

“He’s a quality player. Everybody gets a first-baller. It’s just taken him 200 games.

“He did pick up a little bit of a niggle with his hamstring today, but the medical team will look at him. I can’t comment until they have had a look. But I’m by no means concerned. I’m expecting him to put in a big performance on Sunday. He’s that type of player; that when the team needs him he’ll turn it up. I’m sure about that,” he said.

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