Sun. Sep 20th, 2020

Proteas irritated by bumpy practice field in Cardiff

Proteas Cricket World CupThe surface of the outfield at the Proteas pre-World Cup training facilities have irritated the team but fielding coach Justin Ontong is confident of preparing the team for the event.

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Proteas fielding coach Justin Ontong feels that the surface of the team’s pre-World Cup practice facilities is not up to scratch.

The former allrounder said that the team had mostly focused on their catching as the outfield was bumpy and difficult to field on.

The Proteas are being hosted at the Cathedral School in Cardiff ahead of a warm-up match at Sofia Gardens against Sri Lanka on 24 May.

“The school we’ve been practicing at has accommodated us nicely,” Ontong said. “But just in terms of the fielding, the outfield is not ideal. It’s a little bit bumpy. But we’ve been focusing on our catching, and that’s really important.”

Ontong says that the Proteas pride in their fielding was still very much in place and opined that fielding at this World Cup could be at the highest standard it has ever been.

To check out the Proteas World Cup squad click here.

“The Proteas always work hard as a fielding unit, and we know the importance of fielding at a World Cup,” Ontong said. “We’re not taking it for granted, and we know that all of the other teams are strong in this department. Our goal is to be the best fielding team going into the World Cup. That’s something we always pride ourselves on, and something we’re working towards.

“South Africa has always been up there in the top three when it comes to fielding. But going into this World Cup, all of the teams are on par, so it will be about taking your opportunities when they are presented to you in the field. That will be very important.”

The Proteas have had a few fielding nightmares at critical moments in World Cup history, from Herschelle Gibbs ‘dropping the World Cup’ to AB de Villiers fluffing a run out against New Zealand in 2015, and Ontong was eager to prepare players to step up at those moments.

“The fielding element is very important,” he said. “If you look at previous World Cups, there have always been defining moments during games. We know about those big moments.

“From my point of view, I’m trying to prepare the guys for defining moments in the game. To make sure that we’re ready for that. It’s all about playing those big moments. We’re well prepared for every opposition.”

South Africa face England in the opening match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup at the Oval on 30 May.

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