We're preparing as best as we can in tough conditions, says Proteas all-rounder Pretorius

30 August 2021 - 14:22 By tiisetso malepa
Dwaine Pretorius is back in the Proteas fold for the first time since February.
Dwaine Pretorius is back in the Proteas fold for the first time since February.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The Proteas have been in quarantine and training in small groups since arriving in Colombo last week, and all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius has said the team is preparing as best as they can in a tough bubble environment and unfamiliar conditions ahead of the start of their six-match limited-overs series against Sri Lanka.

The Proteas arrived in the island nation on Thursday for a three-match ODI and three-match T20 series and have been training in small groups over the weekend.

The action will get under way on Thursday with the first of the three ODIs at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.

“Unfortunately the weather did not play ball today, so we had an indoor session. It was very humid but it was a good first session in Sri Lanka and I am sure the guys enjoyed it,” said Pretorius.

“Obviously it is a bit tough having smaller groups with the quarantine and Covid-19, but we are dealing with that as best as we can and hopefully we can get back to training as a team as soon as possible.

“Probably the wicket will be slow and obviously the outfield looks like it won’t be as fast as in SA and I think spin and a change of pace will play a massive role in the ODIs and T20s.”

Before jetting out of the country, the Proteas set up a mini-camp at Pretorius’ new home in Potchefstroom, where he will play for North West Cricket in the upcoming season, and the 32-year-old said the team could not have asked for a better venue to prepare for slow and turning subcontinent conditions.

“We were fortunate to train and prepare in Potchefstroom, my new home ground. Obviously there it is a lot like Sri Lanka, well or we think it would be that way, quite slow and a turning wicket and we will try to prepare as best as we can.”

While the South Africans know that spin will be the order of the day during the series, Pretorius said run scoring will be something that the Proteas will have to be well prepared for if they are to post and chase intimidating targets.

“I don’t think there will be a lot of swing out there and I think with good cricket shots and hitting the space we should be OK.”

“Their outfields are normally quite big and it might not be your Wanderers or a SuperSport Park that’s a bit smaller and the ball comes on.

“So your areas that you might be looking to score might differ.

“You might instead of trying to go for six, you might hit it on the ground hard and hit spaces and only at the back end try to capitalise.

It is a bit tough having smaller groups with the quarantine and Covid-19, but we are dealing with that as best as we can.
Dwaine Pretorius

“It’s a bit of a change in terms of the game plans and obviously probably 200 here will win you the match, but it does not get scored that much.

“So we will probably be looking at scores of 150 or 160 that we will be targeting.”

Pretorius is back in the team for the first time since February after he was sidelined first by injury and later by Covid-19 and can’t wait to get going.

“It’s super exciting. It has been a long time for me being away. It almost feels like it has been years and years but it has only been a few months.

“I’m very fortunate and happy to be back. It’s really awesome.”

Pretorius and company will be looking to put the off-field turmoil that has engulfed Cricket SA (CSA) over the past week behind them.

The Proteas left the country with a dark cloud over the head of embattled coach Mark Boucher, who is at the centre of allegations of racism, and without assistant coach Enoch Nkwe, who quit the team citing a toxic working environment.

But the team has no choice to try as best as they can to put all these behind them, more so because the series serves as the Proteas' last competitive action before the T20 World Cup in October and November in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.