England’s eye-catching performances in recent weeks, have certainly grabbed the Proteas’s attention, but rather than cower at the prospect of facing ‘Bazball’ the South Africans are keen to get stuck in.
Johannesburg – England’s eye-catching performances in recent weeks, have certainly grabbed the Proteas’ attention, but rather than cower at the prospect of facing ‘Bazball’ the South Africans are keen to get stuck in.
“Let’s see them do that against our bowlers,” Rassie van der Dussen said a few days before he departs for a lengthy tour that will include a three match Test series at the end.
England have successfully chased targets in excess of 250 runs in each of their last four Tests, including a remarkable 378/3 against India in Birmingham on Tuesday. It has enthralled their supporters, and seen Brendon McCullum – aka ‘Baz’ – glorified across the kingdom.
“You’ve got to look at the position they were in before these last four Tests; they were last in the Test championship, so it was almost a case that they didn’t have anything to lose, because they were losing anyway,” said Van der Dussen.
England had won just two of the 17 Tests, before the ECB’s new Director of Cricket, Rob Key, appointed McCullum as head coach of the men’s Test side in May.
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“Knowing a bit about McCullum, from talking to guys who have played with and under him, he’s aggressive in his approach. In these four matches it worked,” Van der Dussen added. “He’s also been the coach of teams who adopted a similar mindset where it hasn’t worked. I think the philosophy, the mindset that players talk about is one thing, but they also have players in form.
“Jonny Bairstow has four hundreds in the last month, which is absolutely ridiculous. Any game plan works when guys are in form.”
Following their win against India, England’s new Test captain, Ben Stokes, who has also received praise for the way he has implemented the new aggressive approach, said that while his side expects opposition teams could be better than them, they won’t be braver.
Van der Dussen said that the Proteas won’t be taken aback by what they encounter against England. “I think the big challenge in playing that way is that you are not going to be consistent.
“If we come out with a good bowling performance or it doesn’t go well for them, there will be a few question marks if they get bowled out cheaply in a first innings, or guys get caught hitting the ball straight up or playing loosely.
“Those are the challenges for them, we have the plans, we know what has worked for us. They are coming with a slightly different mindset and strategy, which has gone well for them. Let’s see them do that against our bowlers.”
Van der Dussen is one of five players selected across all three squads for a tour, which for them will last more than two months. The One-Day International group, which faces England in a three match series, departs on Friday.
The first of the three Tests, takes place at Lord’s from August 17.