Adapting to conditions is biggest challenge: SA coach

The limited time to adapt to the local conditions is the biggest challenge for South Africa ahead of their opening Test against India, said SA coach.

updated: February 05, 2010 17:22 IST
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The limited time at their disposal to adapt to the local conditions is the biggest challenge for South Africa ahead of their opening Test against India, team's coach Corrie Van Zyl said on Thursday.

"My biggest challenge is to prepare the players in such a congested time to these conditions from the bouncy wickets of South Africa. We have to get in as many practice sessions as possible and obviously the two-day game (against the Cricket Board President's XI that concluded on Thursday) has helped tremendously," said Van Zyl at an interactive session with the mediapersons at the team hotel.

The two teams will start the two-match series here in two days' time.

Van Zyl, who took over the reins from Mickey Arthur just a few days before the team left for India in a significant makeover of the coaching and selection panels, said the key to doing well was to face up to the challenging conditions.

"The key lies in making sure our mindset is right for the challenge in these difficult conditions," said the 48-year-old former cricketer who had come eight years ago as an assistant coach to India.

Van Zyl expected the wicket to help the spinners in the Test series opener starting at the new VCA Stadium in Jamtha on the outskirts of this Orange City on Saturday.

"We had a look at the wicket yesterday and it does not have the same amount of grass as we saw in the practice match. It looks like it will turn. It's still early days and it will give us a better indication tomorrow. But you can't really say about the bounce now unless you play on it. That's something we need to assess," Van Zyl said about the track for the Test.

The new coach felt irrespective of the wicket prepared for the match, his team had the pace bowlers to do well on any surface.

"If you are a fine fast bowler, you should adapt to any kind of wicket. Having quality fast bowlers capable of bowling at 140km plus, and three of them at that, those guys are going to be effective on any kind of wicket," he said.

South Africa's pace battery comprises Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell.

"It's a question of getting the right line and length on surfaces like that and that's what we are working on. You need to assess what's the right length and control. We are working on the control issue," he said.

Van Zyl said the absence of an injured Rahul Dravid, who has been advised three weeks rest after a jaw surgery, will hurt the Indian team.