Proteas aim high again against embattled hosts
South Africa will hope the one-way traffic continues when they face a beleaguered West Indies on Saturday at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in the first of their five One-day Internationals.cricket Updated: May 21, 2010 19:31 IST
South Africa will hope the one-way traffic continues when they face a beleaguered West Indies on Saturday at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in the first of their five One-day Internationals.
The Proteas' confidence had taken a beating during the recent Twenty20 World Cup staged in the Caribbean, where they exited with a whimper at the Super Eight stage, but this has been restored thanks to a pair of T20 victories over West Indies on Wednesday and Thursday.
Graeme Smith's side swept the two T20s with a 13-run victory in the first match, and a tense one-run win in the second, and they are anxious for more success.
"This ODI series is very important for us, and as we showed during the two T20s, we wanted to win, and play with our usual intensity," said Smith.
"We want to get back on the road to success again, and we have a lot of work to do, following a poor campaign in the T20 World Cup, so this is an important tour for us.
"We have a long break following this tour, and so we want to leave everything out on the field here in the Caribbean."
For West Indies, the problems have reached terminal decline, and their captain Chris Gayle felt powerless in trying to halt the slide. He has taken aim at his fellow batsmen, and questioned their mindset.
"I do not know if they are too worried about the position of the match, or their place in the team too much, or something else, but they have to free-up," he said.
"They have to go out there with a free mind, and play some good cricket."
He dismissed experience as a problem, and indicated that his teammates had to start taking responsibility for their performances.
"It's up to the individual," he said. "They have to look into themselves, and try to redeem themselves as much as possible. I cannot do it for them. I have a lot to think about as well, so it's up to them."
South Africa will be a little hamstrung with injuries to Jacques Kallis and Charl Langeveldt, but the two T20s have shown they have more than capable reserves.
Left-hander David Miller made his international debut in the second T20I, and his top score of 33 from 26 balls helped them to reach a respectable total.
"It was great for us to see a guy come into the side, and play so well under pressure," said Smith about the 20-year-old Dolphins batsman.
"It was a breath of fresh air to see him walk to the crease, and hit his sixth ball for six, and play his natural game. It's a credit to him, and he's still got a long way to go."
It's unlikely West Indies will change their squad for the first ODI because of time constraints, but the selection panel of chairman Clyde Butts, Robert Haynes and Raphick Jumadeen now face a difficult task to find a winning combination.
"It's something the selectors will have to discuss seriously, and all I can do is to wait and see what happens," said Gayle.
"These are the best guys we have in the West Indies, so if they cannot do it, we will have to take the alternative route, but we will have to wait and see what the selectors come up with and what happens later."
South Africa have won the last six ODIs between the two sides, including a 67-run triumph at the Queen's Park Stadium in Grenada during the 2007 World Cup, which was staged in the Caribbean.
West Indies' previous ODI victory over the Proteas was their six-wicket win in the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy four years ago at Jaipur in India.
Scattered showers are again forecast, but this time the pitch at the VRCG will hold the centre of attraction.
During the two T20Is, it played unevenly, and so the two sides will hope that head curator Tony Merrick, the former Leeward Islands, Kent, and Warwickshire fast bowler, can roll out a far more accommodating surface.
West Indies (Still to be officially confirmed): Chris Gayle (capt), Dwayne Bravo (vice capt), Sulieman Benn, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Andre Fletcher, Nikita Miller, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor.
South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (capt), Jacques Kallis (vice capt), Hashim Amla, Loots Bosman, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, Abraham de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Alviro Pietersen, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe.