Gary Kirsten Cricket Head Coach, Ryan Cook recently returned from a stint with South Africa ‘A’ in the United Kingdom. Cook served as the fielding coach during a three match ODI series against the England Lions.
We had a nine day training camp before we left for England. It gave us a chance to work on the culture of the team and the way we wanted to approach the series. We tweak technical aspects and had plenty of middle practices and net sessions. I was really proud of the player’s efforts.
Wet weather reduced our playing time significantly. Our first game against Yorkshire was rained out after we had batted for 25 overs.
While rain also affected the second game. We looked good for the first 15 overs before we the players were forced to come off.
I was a left bit frustrated that we didn’t get a chance to bowl or field.
Three Match ODI:
We batted first in our first ODI in Nottingham and managed to set a target of 269. The England Lions openers, Ben Duckett and Dawid Malan took the game away from us however with a solid opening stand. In the end they won by nine wickets.
The second game took place in Northampton. Our opponents batted first and set a huge total of 349. We had a fairly good start with the bat but then lost wickets at regular intervals. We were eventually bowled out for 205.
We saw very little action in the third game. The match was rained out after just a few overs.
I certainly think that in a short space of time the players exuded great energy and effort. For me it was about creating some awareness around the players fielding, what techniques they needed to use and what attitudes they needed to bring and the skills that are expected at this level.
I feel that the players are much better equipped now to really affect the match and create chances in the field which is often a neglected part of the game.
Being involved in different environments both in the High Performance space at GKC as well as Cricket South Africa has produced growth for me. I think this tour was no different working with a coaching staff that was very professional. They showed great work ethic which always good to see. From a fielding side I definitely learnt that there is much to be learnt in this space and hopefully more emphasis will be placed on this going forward. The players reacted well to the different intervention that came to them but it must be understood that these players do not make mistakes on purpose but there will be mistakes that creep in here and there. Just because they have a higher standard of excellence doesn’t mean they are immune to error. Trying to minimise those errors was something that I focused on and something that I can take into the different spaces that I go into.