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‘Expect pitch to assist spinners’
- PROTEAS' PROFESSIONALISM A PLEASANT SURPRISE FOR INTERIM COACH VAN ZYL

Nagpur: Taking over from Mickey Arthur, Corrie van Zyl, the interim coach of South Africa, could not have hoped for a better beginning as his team thrashed India by an innings and six runs in the first Test for the Jaypee Infratech Cup. At a news conference here on Wednesday, he said that he was impressed with the professionalism of the team.

The following are excerpts

Feelings on the victory in his first Test as a coach

It was a great way to start… But I’m realistic enough to understand that it’s not going to be as easy from here.

Things he concentrated on after becoming coach

My concerns were not as much team related as it was personal, about getting into a new role. It was important to adapt to the Indian conditions as soon as possible. It was a bit easier for me because I knew most of the players already. But I understand that we need to be really well prepared for the second Test at the Eden.

His experience so far

I was pleasantly surprised with the professionalism of this team. Credit for that must go to (Mickey) Arthur and the others who were associated with the team previously. That also made my introduction into the team easier. I’ve given match sheets to every player as I want to get their feedbacks about themselves. That will help me assess them in detail.

The wicket he expects in Calcutta

I won’t say it will be a minefield, but I do expect it to assist the Indian spinners. But I’m saying all this from Nagpur. I need to go there, see the situation and decide our strategy. Actually, it’s going to be a challenge whatever the wicket may be in Calcutta. Mentally, we’re in a better position and that should help.

How would he compare Paul Harris to the Indian spinners

Harbhajan (Singh) and (Amit) Mishra are obviously bigger turners of the ball. But that doesn’t mean that Harris is not an attacking bowler. There are different roles for all of them.

If Harris’ leg-stump line was part of the game plan

Yes, it was. It’s imperative that we perform well as a bowling unit. That makes the work lot more effective. Be it in bowling or batting, working in partnerships always helps you move forward. Harris was effective and economical…Without him, effecting the follow-on would have been difficult. We needed his overs.

Did the absence of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman lead to any change of strategy?

No, we didn’t change our strategy for that. If you think in that fashion, you tend to become complacent. That’s when you make mistakes. We only need to focus on getting our basics right.

On Hashim Amla

I haven’t yet studied Hashim as much as, perhaps, Arthur did. But his calmness at the crease is one of our biggest assets.

If Dale Steyn and Allan Donald could be compared

I hate doing things like that. Dale is an excellent bowler… He swings the ball and, as we saw here, he can reverse swing pretty well, too. But I would hate to make a comparison between the two.

The partnership with batting consultant Kepler Wessels

I have known him for a long time. To have someone of his experience, who has been the captain of South Africa, and not to use his knowledge would be stupid.

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