Conrad sees SA20 as an 'ally' to Proteas: 'People in SA still very much in love with cricket'

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Marco Jansen and David Miller
Marco Jansen and David Miller
SA20/Sportzpics/Gallo Images
  • Proteas ODI caretaker coach Shukri Conrad says he sees the successful SA20 as an ally ahead of this week's England ODIs.
  • The Proteas take on England in a three-match ODI series in Bloemfontein and Kimberley.
  • Conrad insists representing South Africa remains the pinnacle for the 16-man squad.

Shukri Conrad believes the SA20's success will only benefit the Proteas as they look to use that form ahead of their England ODI series.

The inaugural SA20 is on an eight-day break to accommodate the three-match ODI series between the two nations.

The success of the SA20 has been unmatched by any domestic tournament that South Africa has ever hosted. Grass banks and stadiums have been either sold-out or full with thousands of spectators supporting their co-owned Indian Premier League franchise.

Conrad, who is in charge as white-ball coach for this England series, insists wearing the green and gold is still the pinnacle for the 16-man squad.

"International cricket is always about pressure. But by just briefly chatting with some of the guys, it's quite clear that representing your country is still the pinnacle of it, both in white-ball and Test cricket," Conrad told reporters on Wednesday.

"Whether we're under pressure to compete, I don't think we're competing with the T20 league. I'd like to see the league as an ally. The one thing I have seen of late is that people in South Africa are still very much in love with cricket.

"Obviously, we're looking at the form [of the] guys in that T20 league...  I think the only pressure is playing really good cricket against a top side like England." 

READ | Conrad wants Proteas to play 'aggressive cricket' with World Cup qualification in doubt

There's been some talk on social media over whether Bloemfontein will be able to match SA20 crowds, with ticket prices for the Proteas ODI ranging from R150 to R250. It's a stark contrast from SA20 games that have been from R50 upwards.

Nonetheless, the Proteas will look to perform in their first ODI match in Bloemfontein since March 2020 against Australia.

"We'll obviously speak about some of these potential pitfalls. Look (speaking about the crowd and ticket prices) is above my pay grade and certainly not something that we're going to concern ourselves about," said Conrad.

"We obviously want everybody in Bloemfontein to come out and support us. Bloemfontein hasn't had much cricket and I'm confident that the people and the surrounds will turn out in their droves to watch a South African side they haven't seen play in a long while."

The last time England played at Mangaung Oval, a then-led Eoin Morgan side defeated South Africa by 39 runs (D/L method) in 2016.

Play on Friday starts at 13:00.

Proteas squad for England ODIs:

Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), Marco Jansen (Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Sisanda Magala (Lions), Keshav Maharaj, (Dolphins), Janneman Malan (Rocks), Aiden Markram (Titans), David Miller (Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Western Province), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions)

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