Proteas must be 'on song' as they look to turn summer around

Mark Boucher (AFP)
Mark Boucher (AFP)

Cape Town - Proteas coach Mark Boucher hopes the change in format could spark a turnaround to what has been a disastrous summer of cricket in South Africa.

After losing to Australia in the third and deciding T20 at Newlands earlier this week, South Africa slumped to their fourth series defeat out of five this season.

The only exception was a drawn ODI series against England, mainly thanks to a rain-affected match in Durban.

The Proteas have won only four out of 13 games since Boucher's appointment in December last year.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's opening ODI against Australia in Paarl, Boucher highlighted the areas of concern:

"(It was a) disappointing two games that we had against Australia. If you look at it from a cricketing perspective, we put ourselves under pressure with the ball.

"If a batting side get too many runs against this bowling attack, it is going to be difficult. So we have to be on song in every department of our game," he said at Boland Park on Friday.

Boucher, however, was optimistic that this young one-day side could bring some much-needed hope and confidence to South African cricket.

"We've got to be on song in every department of our game. It's a new format, we got a little confidence with regards to the youngsters that performed well against England so hopefully we can ride on that. It's quite exciting, we got some new faces in the team and hopefully they bring something to the party in order for us to move forward."

The Proteas will be hoping to perform well in front of a sold-out Boland Park on Saturday. Play starts at 13:00.

Boucher admitted that the support during the summer had been "fantastic" despite the poor performances on the field.

"It (support) has been good, especially with the cricket we've been playing, sometimes you can say, well people won't support it," he said.

"They've been out, which has been fantastic to see and Paarl will be no different. The games that we played in the MSL (Mzansi Super League) were fantastic, full grounds and they really enjoy their cricket here. Hopefully we can put on a good performance for them." 

The Proteas will be without their fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who has been ruled out of this series and next month's tour to India.

Proteas ODI squad:

Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma (Lions), David Miller (Dolphins), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Beuran Hendricks (Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras), Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Lutho Sipamla (Warriors), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Kyle Verreynne (Cape Cobras)

Fixtures:

Saturday, February 29, 1st ODI - Boland Park, Paarl

Wednesday, March 4, 2nd ODI - Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein

Saturday, March 7, 3rd ODI - Senwes Park, Potchefstroom

- Compiled by Lynn Butler

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England 165/7 (58.3 ov)
Pakistan 326
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England 165/7 (58.3 ov)
Pakistan 326
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