Cape Town - South Africa ‘A’ begin their month-long tour of the United Kingdom on Saturday when they face Yorkshire in Leeds and coach Shukri Conrad says they want nothing more than to win the forthcoming series against the England Lions.
The tourists play three one-day matches and a one-off four-day game against their English counterparts, the first of which is next Thursday.
The match at Headingley will therefore offer them some much-needed warm-up time and Conrad admits the tour will be a real test of their credentials as a unit.
“We want to win the series and you only win a series by playing good cricket,” he said.
“The purpose of this side is they want to win the series. They want to win the one-day series and they want to win the one-off four-day international against the English Lions.
“But you don’t just rock up and win. You’ve got to put in the hard graft, which we’ve done over the last few days.
“We’ve got to create the right environment, we’ve got to make sure the necessary learning takes place, and in so doing, we’ve got to put good performances together, so as a broader goal we want to win. But we also need to tick all those other little boxes as well.”
The squad is loaded with experience in the form of Test players like Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Duanne Olivier and Dane Piedt.
There is also the youth element in the side with shining lights from the 2016/17 domestic season like Jon Jon Smuts, Aiden Markram, Khaya Zondo, Lungisani Ngidi and Jason Smith – all hoping to make their mark on a higher level.
But Conrad insists the tour is more than just about individuals wanting to stake a claim for higher honours.
“We have a lot of very good young players here, most of them I have worked with before at the academy,” he added.
“They bring a lot of energy and come here with stars in their eyes, they just want to get going and want to make an impression.
“We’ve spoken long and hard about that. It can be a very difficult space to work in, quite a selfish space and that’s where I’ve got to really lure the senior guys in. Those that have had a taste of the Proteas.
“We want to create a culture, similar to the Proteas, and take away the focus from the individual and almost make sure this SAA side as a unit becomes successful.”
The tour opens with the 50-over leg, which runs from June 27 to June 5, before moving on to the longer format from June 8 to June 24.
SA ‘A’ squad for 50-over series against England Lions:
Reeza Hendricks (Highveld Lions), Jon Jon Smuts (Warriors), Aiden Markram (Titans), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), Theunis de Bruyn (Knights), Khaya Zondo – captain (Dolphins), Hein Kuhn (Titans), Jason Smith (Cape Cobras), Mangaliso Mosehle (Highveld Lions), Sisanda Magala (Warriors), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Lungisani Ngidi (Titans), Duanne Olivier (Knights), Junior Dala (Titans), Dane Paterson (Cape Cobras).
SA ‘A’ squad for four-day series against England Lions:
Heino Kuhn (Titans), Aiden Markram- captain (Titans), Theunis de Bruyn (Knights), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), Khaya Zondo (Dolphins), Jason Smith (Cape Cobras), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Wiaan Mulder (Highveld Lions), Rudi Second (Knights), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Lungisani Ngidi (Titans), Dane Paterson (Cape Cobras), Duanne Olivier (Knights), Junior Dala (Titans), Beuran Hendricks (Cape Cobras).