PAARL, South Africa (Reuters) - South Africa may have capitulated with the bat in their recent Twenty20 International series against Australia, but coach Mark Boucher wants to see improvement with the ball heading into three One-Day Internationals that start on Saturday.
South Africa recorded paltry scores of 89 and 96 chasing big Australian totals in the 20-over matches, which Boucher believes were down to pressure built by bowlers leaking too many runs and not restricting the tourists to more manageable chases.
“There were two disappointing games we had in the T20 series, but if you look at it from a cricketing perspective, we put ourselves under pressure with the ball,” Boucher told reporters on Friday.
“If a batting side get too many runs against this bowling attack, it is going to be difficult. So we have to be on song in every department of our game.”
Boucher hopes the change in format, and refreshed squad, will lift the fortunes of his side at Boland Park as they welcome back a number of less experienced players with one eye on building towards the 2023 World Cup.
That means recalls for seamer Lutho Sipamla, batsman Janneman Malan and wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne, while in-form spinner Keshav Maharaj also returns to the side for the first time in two years.
“It is a new format, we have some confidence going into this series with regards the youngsters who performed so well against England (earlier this month), so hopefully we can ride on that.”
Paarl will present a different challenge for the sides on Saturday, with high winds predicted at a ground that is one of the biggest in South Africa in terms of pitch size.
“We have played enough international cricket to know that the wind plays a major part,” Boucher says.
“There are shorter boundaries and longer boundaries here, so you have to be smart about the way you go about things. There are also some fires on the (nearby) mountains so we are dealing with a bit of ash as well.”
South Africa have only previously played six ODI matches in Paarl, but that includes a thumping 258-run victory over Sri Lanka in 2012, when they bowled the visitors out for 43.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne