Aware of Kumar trap

2015-03-17 00:00

THE Proteas will be making a big mistake if they give all of their attention to Kumar Sangakkara in tomorrow’s Cricket World Cup at the SCG — but Sri Lanka can just as easily fall into that trap with AB de Villiers, warns Russell Domingo.

The Proteas coach said yesterday the South Africans had mapped out their bowling plan on Sangakkara, after the veteran last week became the first ­batsman in history to smash to four consecutive centuries at a World Cup.

Sangakkars, with 496 runs, is the leading run scorer at the competition, ­followed by Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor (433) and De Villiers (417).

“He [Sangakkara] is playing the best cricket of his life and has scored four ­centuries, but one expects him to fail at some stage. We have worked all week on plans that we think could work against him,” Domingo said.

“Kumar is in many ways like AB and both are on the crest of the wave. But we will be in trouble if our attention is only on him, because Sri Lanka have some very good players. That said, it will work in our favour if they only worry about AB.”

Domingo admits there is room for ­improvement, after a see-saw group phase in which the South Africans lost to both India and Pakistan.

“The South African team are always in a difficult situation, because if we win all our matches before the knockout round, we are asked questions about the team, and if we don’t then it also raises questions. It’s something we have to ­endure,” Domingo said.

“For us the quarter-finals is a new, clean start. We have played good cricket at times and other times played less good cricket, but if we play to our full potential we have a good shot at winning.”

Domingo added that the fact that the Proteas have never won a knockout match at the tournament is not something to worry about.

“I honestly do not even talk to the players about the importance of the game, because everyone is aware of it,” he said.

“We just want to concentrate on the implementation of our own skills, rather than our opponent or the magnitude of the moment. When the pressure situations come, we should just focus on that which made our success over the past year and what enabled us to beat Sri Lanka when we toured there last year.”

Domingo has also hinted that the struggling Quinton de Kock will retain his place in the squad.

The 22-year-old opener has only scored 53 runs in this year’s tournament and is the only Proteas batsmen not on the right track.

“I and the selectors have already ­started talking about our best 11 for the rest of the tournament and it’s a tough decision. We know Quinton has the ­ability to win games, but that’s not ­always possible if all six or seven of your batters are not in form.

“If he smells blood first, he can hurt teams. He did well against Sri Lanka in the past and he will look forward to ­playing against them again.

“It’s a dilemma for any coach — there’s no guarantees and you often have to rely on your instincts. You never know ­exactly what will happen — AB may lose his wicket first ball tomorrow and ­Quinton could score 150.”

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