Touring in the subcontinent normally comes with the baggage of dealing with frenetic travel, issues with food and sultry conditions. The experience of playing the Indian Premier League, though, has helped ease these problems. Having applied that experience successfully in Bangladesh where they swept the Twenty20 series, South Africa look to be on top of their game — at least in the shortest format — here as well.
According to David Miller, they not only look at the pitch or the dew factor but also the length of the boundaries, vantage points for fielders and even how the hard the turf is. Successfully adapting to these factors result in run outs like those of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and helped the likes of AB de Villiers or JP Duminy clear the boundary with ease. The collective output has meant yet another T20 series win in a country South Africa will revisit in five months for the World T20.
When it comes to fielding, South Africa have always been a top unit. Miller almost gave a break-up of how they field, be it within the circle or in the deep. “To be honest, in the build up to the series, we’ve been working really hard on our fielding. It’s just about looking at the venue a day before the game; we find out from where it’s easy to throw. A lot of times in India, you can throw it to the wicket-keeper on the bounce because the grounds are hard,” said Miller, who affected a brilliant run out of Sharma from point in the Cuttack game.
Coming to Eden Gardens, Miller feels chances of run outs remain because of smaller boundaries. “Here in Kolkata, being a smaller boundary, there’s going to be a lot less twos and more ones. It’s a ground where there can be run outs,” he said. At the same time, he didn’t forget to mention how it would be easier to clear the boundaries. “Picking the right ball to execute your shots is the key in this venue,” the Kings XI Punjab player said.
Ultimately, it all boils down to adapting to the variable bounce of the pitches,” feels Miller. “You have to adjust to it as quickly as possible. The longer the format, the more spin comes into play,” he added.
India may have lost the T20 series, but Miller might have also given them a reason to stay positive and motivated for the rest of this tour.