It’s natural for sports teams to take lessons learnt from one game into another but to take those lessons from a fixture played over eight years ago has to be unprecedented. That’s what South Africa will have to do when they play their first Test since 2014 next week.
Moreeng said the batters were having a more difficult time adjusting than the bowlers but have progressed well from their training camp last month. “The ones that are battling with it currently are our batters, because we’ve just come from a white-ball tour in Ireland,” he said. “What has helped is the prep we had prior to the Ireland tour. We had a three-day and four-day game where we introduced most of them to red-ball cricket.”
“To see how the batters have set up their innings, taking their time and their application – that’s something that wasn’t there in the preparation matches that we had and we are very happy to see that on the back of white-ball cricket,” Moreeng said. “The application we see from batters shows that the improvement is there. Getting into the Test, we can say that most of our batters have spent time in the middle to be able to understand what’s required.”
While the batters and bowlers have been getting skill-specific in their preparation, the squad as a whole has been preparing for successive days of cricket, which they are also unused to. “Our conditioning has been good. We knew the Test was coming so it was put in their conditioning plans. There’s nothing that beats time in the legs. The two games we had back home gave them an idea of what could happen and after four days we could see who was where,” Moreeng said. “Test cricket is more taxing on the body and the mind and everyone understands that. They’re more excited to see how it goes.”
And hopeful that, despite the ICC chair Greg Barclay’s feeling that women’s Tests won’t form a big part of cricket’s future, this is the start of a longer-term plan to play red-ball cricket. “Ideally it’s a format we want to see in women’s cricket because of everything it brings to the game,” Moreeng said. “If your skills are good as far as playing Test cricket is concerned, you can transfer the basics to the other two formats.”