Both Proteas pacer Dale Steyn and skipper Graeme Smith mentioned how stand-in coach Corrie van Zyl had made a difference to the team and lifted its morale during the Nagpur Test. The day after South Africa wrapped up India with one day to spare, Van Zyl, a straight-talking, thoroughly professional “players’ coach”, opened up on the game and what lies ahead.
Difference between this team & one in 2008
I think mentally, this South African team is better prepared. That’s the most important part but it’s still going to be a challenge dealing with turning wickets and… whatever the wicket is.
On the Safs mental strength
I was telling the team and the team management that I was really surprised by the mental preparation of the team (when he took over from Mickey Arthur at short notice).
Credit should be given to Mickey and what he’s put in place. Surprised is the right word but I was happy to see the level of preparation, which made my introduction a lot
Does he expect a minefield in Kolkata
I won’t say a minefield. But we will see what it looks like when we get there. I obviously expect something that’s going to help the Indian team.
On missing Dravid, VVS and Yuvraj in Nagpur
There was no difference in preparation or strategy. If you start thinking that way then you are almost getting into a complacent mood. We didn’t change our strategy. You need to take 20 wickets. If you think one person is a lesser batsman than the other person, that’s when you start making mistakes.
On whether India need to gamble now
That’s really their concern. We need to look at what we have to do. We will look at the Indian team and see how they will approach this Test in terms of selection.
On the Eden track and spin
I think it will help the Indian spinners. I need to go to Kolkata and look at it but Harbhajan and Mishra are spinners who turn the ball, they are attacking spinners. The roles (of spinners) are different within the bowling attack and it’s a question of knowing what the roles are.
On the Proteas pacers hitting the deck hard
That was part of our game plan. Going forward, I will make sure that we are operating together as a bowling unit and not as individuals, that’s needed to make you a lot more effective.
Working in partnerships is the way to go forward in batting. In bowling too you got to work in partnerships to put pressure.