Sun, 28 Feb 2021

  • The Proteas' quest to get the ball reversing in Pakistan will rely heavily on the insights of bowling coach, Charl Langeveldt.
  • He was part of a previous generation of SA bowlers who were skilful in the art, but the next generation hasn't been exposed much.
  • Coach Mark Boucher also hopes the batsmen show the necessary application in the the conditions.

Whether there'll be much on offer remains to be seen, but the Proteas are banking on a not-so-secret weapon in their quest to use reverse swing in the upcoming Test series against Pakistan.

Charl Langeveldt, South Africa's bowling coach, was one of the finest exponents of an art that has become a bit lost in this era of vigilance in terms of ball-tampering as well as Covid-19 realities.

And it's that knowledge Mark Boucher, the Proteas mentor, is banking on.

READ: WATCH | Proteas greeted by 'tight' security upon Pakistan arrival

"The nice thing is we have a bowling coach who as a master at it in 'Langers'," he said.

"I feel comfortable that he'll make some good calls in making us get it right."

In fact, the issue of reverse swing is a bit of a ironic one when it comes to the Proteas.

Spearheaded by Dale Steyn, South Africa's bowling attack prospered in that regard the previous decade before a raft of retirements and aforementioned factors saw the team lose that edge.

"It's something that needs to be looked at. You can be a good reversing swing bowler, but if it's not reversing, it doesn't make a difference," said Boucher.

"We need to get the ball to do so, but in Covid-times you have to be careful in terms of how you look after the ball. However, there are always legal ways to scuff up one side."

Another complication is the fact that Kagiso Rabada, the Proteas' bowling kingpin, is the only bowler in the group to have gained some experience with this skill.

"A lot of our bowlers haven't really dealt with reversing swing before. From my experience of being a coach in the franchise system, we went to places where it might be important and worked on the ball, but the bowlers simply couldn't control it," said Boucher.

"They don't usually bowl with it. It will be a good lesson for our guys. We've got a couple of days to plan before we start, so we'll be chatting a bit on how to get the ball to reverse and giving the guys a ball that does reverse to practice with."

Meanwhile, the Proteas' batting order will also need to get its house in order in conditions that Boucher admits can be rewarding if application is done right.

Most of batters made a score of substance in the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka though a nasty collapse in the second Test at the Wanderers made doubts creep in again over whether they're over a barren period of run-scoring.

"We would've taken some confidence from the Sri Lanka series, most of our batsmen got some time in the middle," said Boucher.

"They're going to play on historically - and I emphasise historically here - flat wickets.

"Having spoken to (Sri Lanka coach and former Pakistan mentor) Mickey Arthur, he also alluded to the wickets being good for batting.

"But it is different. The areas a batsman will score in is different, the bowlers will bowl straighter.

"If the ball reverses, a lot of our batters probably wouldn't have seen a lot of that. There's a lot of adapting, but if you apply your mind, there's a lot of runs out there.

"Technically you do get tested, but we're aware of the adjustments that need to be made."

Source: News24

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