Spinning at the home of spin

2012-08-18 15:07

South Africa’s spin cupboard is not the fullest, but steps are being taken to stack it up with quality, not quantity. Khanyiso Tshwaku

looks at the relevance of such camps

A group of 13 cricketers from South Africa’s six first-class franchises departed for Bangalore in India on Monday for a nine-day “spin camp”.

Split among six batsmen, five spinners, a fast bowler and a wicketkeeper, the aim is to hone their skills and broaden their knowledge in foreign conditions.

Because of the green mambas, rock hard fliers and, to a rare extent, flat decks dotting South Africa’s pitchscape, spinners have always been regarded as the unskilful players who only get picked when teams need to make up numbers.

Harsh as it might sound, South Africa is the only major Test nation without a spinner who has taken 250 Test wickets.

Former Proteas spinner Nicky Boje, who is accompanying the players to India, said the experience will be worthwhile for the fledgling tweakers.

“There will be a lot of stuff that will be worked on like their actions and all those kinds of things. It is important for them to take something out of it and put it into their own game,” the 45-Test spinner said before departing for India’s Silicon Valley.

Titans wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle, who is travelling to India for a second time, was especially excited to be part of the 13-man group as, after all, India’s low and slow tracks have reduced the silkiest of stumpers to iron gloves.

“One thing I have always wanted to do is to keep (to play behind the stumps) in India. The country, along with England, is a difficult place to keep in. The place will test how good my skills are,” he said.

“The last time I was there, playing in some warm-up matches against the Delhi Daredevils, the ball turned and the pitches were dry and low.

“There are grounds which turn like Pietermaritzburg where I can apply whatever I will learn.”

Highveld Lions’ opener Omphile Ramela said the key for the batting group is to change their approach to playing spin, which he finds passive.

“We are not naturally aggressive from the onset. If you play in places like Cape Town or Paarl, where spinners often come into play, you have to be aggressive.

“It also depends where you play in the country. Guys in the Highveld might attack spin more, but do not necessarily have the defensive game plan to deal with the turning ball because of the bouncy pitch conditions available to them,” Ramela said.

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