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Proteas feeling the heat in India

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IT seems it is not only the Springboks who are experiencing extreme weather conditions in their bid to acclimatise at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, but so too the Proteas in India.

The Proteas arrived early in Dharamshala for Sunday’s first T20I to ensure a largely new crop of players become accustomed to the unique subcontinent conditions.

Only David Miller and Kagiso Rabada in the current T20 squad were involved in the Proteas’ memorable seven-wicket victory here in the picturesque northern town when JP Duminy’s unbeaten 68 from just 34 balls helped the visitors chase down a daunting 200 two years ago.

The Dharamshala International Cricket Stadium (HPCA) is one of the highest altitude stadiums in the world, and despite often being overlooked by the glorious snow-capped Himalayas, the mercury levels regularly push over 36°C with humidity levels often unbearable.

“The hospitality has been great, everyone has looked after us very nicely since we’ve arrived,” Proteas batsman Rassie van der Dussen said yesterday.

“But it has been very hot, very humid. We have had two tough training sessions. The boys have worked really hard. It is going to be to our advantage that we are here a week before the first game. The guys will get used to the humidity and heat. It is like playing in Durban, but just more intense.”

Van der Dussen, who is on his first tour of India with the national team, was one of the few Proteas to return from an inglorious World Cup campaign in the UK earlier this year with his reputation enhanced. In fact, despite only boasting an international career spanning 25 caps (18 ODIs and seven T2OIs), the 30-year-old is viewed as a senior member of the limited-overs teams.

Despite his rapid ascent, Van der Dussen will still be looking to learn from experienced campaigners such as Miller and stand-in captain Quinton de Kock.

“The last time we were all together was at the World Cup. That was disappointing. But coming together now again, it’s almost like a fresh start.

We have spoken a lot of where we are as a team and where we want to go. There are a few fresh faces too, which always brings up the energy,” he explained.

“Wherever you go in the world, you tend to lean on the guys that have been there before. Obviously the guys that know the conditions well here are Quinny and David Miller, so we will look to feed off them about the conditions and bowlers because we need to use everything to our advantage against a very strong India team.”

Zaahier Adams