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Ken Borland


Not much Proteas batsmen can do about structural issues, but basics can be better – Zondo

Posted on June 15, 2023 by Ken

Khaya Zondo and the rest of the Proteas batsmen in Australia can’t do much now about the structural issues in South African domestic cricket that are undermining the batting at international level, but the Test rookie did mention some basics of the game that he and his colleagues can do better to ensure they get more runs on the board in the second Test starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

The 32-year-old Zondo had batted in just two previous Test innings before he was thrown on to the Gabba minefield, but his 36 not out in the second innings was a defiant, plucky effort that would have given him some confidence for the rest of the series.

“It’s just a matter of really applying ourselves, getting really focused and making sure that we are present at the crease at all times,” Zondo said on Wednesday.

“A lot of the guys are new to Test cricket and there is a lot of intensity at that level, so we need to really focus on the ball. We need to bring all our soul and might while there at the crease.

“You’ve got to find a way to work through the challenges. It’s been a tough year of international cricket for the Proteas, playing in New Zealand, England and Australia is tough.

“And most of the pitches have been really tough. Test cricket tests your technique, makes you play with a straight blade because the ball is always between the stumps and you have to make sure you defend them,” Zondo said.

Watching the ball seems like an obvious thing for a professional cricketer to do, but there are levels and Zondo said his focus on every delivery has been something he has had to work on, even between innings in Brisbane.

“In the first innings, when I was lbw [for a two-ball duck], the ball nipped back quickly. So in the second innings I was trying to react ahead of the ball, watch the ball more closely,” Zondo said.

“Australia bowled very well, they were on the money. They realised there was a lot happening and they bowled a lot straighter. So it takes better defence to ensure you keep the good balls out.

“Playing for the SA A side and a bit of ODI cricket [6 matches] helped me adjust to this level, but there’s quite a difference in intensity and execution of skills. They were ruthless in their skills and their basics are sharp.

“You need to really defend your stumps and watch your off-stump. There’s not much to score off, but you can’t just sit there and think you’ll survive, because the bowlers will work you out,” Zondo said.

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