South Africa to bank on fresh pace duo to overcome India

Kanpur, Oct 10 (IANS) South Africa captain AB de Villiers on Saturday said that they have been bolstered by the arrival of experienced pace duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who will bring “good energy” to the side that plays India in the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series starting here on Sunday.

Steyn, Morkel were not part of the side that won the Twenty20 series against the home team.

“It is nice to have Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn back, they have a lot of experience,” de Villiers was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.

‘We haven’t seen them for a while so they bring good energy and experience to the side. I am very excited to see them running in to bowl tomorrow again. They both look in really good form.”

A lot has been spoken about South Africa depending on their pacers to do the damage. Alongwith Steyn and Morkel, Kyle Abbott and young Kagiso Rabada are also raring to have a go at the Indian batsmen.

But de Villiers was of the view that his side had equal quality in the spin department as well.

“We have got a very balanced bowling attack. We don’t lean too much on the seamers or the spin bowlers. We have got firepower in all departments in our bowling. We have seen that over the years that we have got a lot of pace with the guys who can swing it and move it off the seam,” the 31-year-old said.

“But, we have good spin bowlers as well. We have an off-spinner and a leg-spinner and we have got Aaron Phangiso as an option as well. We cover all bases.”

Also, spin is expected to play a huge role in the ODI series for which the visitors have prepared well according to the captain. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is expected to unleash off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh, alongwith leggie Amit Mishra.

“We are prepared to face a lot of spin and that is the kind of thing that you expect when you come to India. India has got some really good spinners in the team and we are expecting the pitches to get slower and turn more as we go on in the series,” he said.

Elaborating further on what to expect from the Kanpur pitch, he said: “We can expect normal spin but nothing out of this world. It looks like a good sporting pitch. We are preparing for a normal cricket game.

“We will assess tomorrow when we get to the ground and try and expose India in certain areas. The plan is to just play a good cricket game. There are no funny game plans, we just want to play good cricket. If we do that we have a good chance of winning.”

According to the captain, it was important to build on the T20I series win and take that winning momentum into the five-match ODI series.

“It is a great start to what promises to be a very challenging tour for us. I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be 2-0 up in the T20I series. We would love to do a similar kind of thing in the ODIs. It is not going to be easy playing India with lots of travelling and lot of different pitches and different grounds,” de Villiers, who has scored 8,046 runs in 190 ODIs, said.

“It is going to be challenging but we have got very important momentum on our side and we are hoping to take that into tomorrow. We have shown the world that we can beat India here. We just have to play really good cricket.

“We know it is a whole new story now. India will try and bounce back and try to win the ODI series as quickly as they can and hopefully we can stop them from doing that.”

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