Heinz Schenk
3 minute read
7 May 2019
5:06 pm

Four talking points as the Proteas ramp up their World Cup prep

Heinz Schenk

It's all about the quicks and their well-being at the moment...

Hashim Amla of South Africa during the 5th Momentum One Day International match between South Africa and Pakistan at PPC Newlands on January 30, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Thinus Maritz/Gallo Images)

Two members of the Proteas’ medical staff on Tuesday gave an injury update ahead of the team’s pre-World Cup training camp, which starts on Sunday.

Here are the four big talking points that emerged.

Kagiso Rabada’s injury is both serious and not overly concerning

Proteas team manager and doctor, Mohammed Moosajee, is a master diplomat.

That’s why he’s probably the most suitable individual within the South African setup to talk about the progress of their bowling talisman after he pulled up with a back spasm in the IPL last week.

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“With him we’re being extra cautious for two reasons. First, he’s had a previous back issue that kept him out for a protracted period of time,” he said.

“Secondly, we’re taking it easy because of his importance to the squad. We’re making sure we’re managing his rehab. Yes, we’re very confident he’ll be fit for the World Cup, but at the same time we want to give him as much time as possible to recover.”

It’s probably workload-related … and the Proteas can’t always control it

Rabada’s fitness concerns once again raises the issue of bowlers’ workloads, especially when they land an Indian gig.

Craig Govender, the Proteas’ physiotherapist, reiterated that national staffs don’t have much control in managing players during the tournament, but they still actively try to provide input and stay up to date as much as possible.

“There’s a lot of cricket being played. We try to manage it as best we can,” he said.

“But sometimes, we can’t control things, especially in the IPL. When it comes to KG, you have to take into consideration the amounts of flights these players board. They don’t always sit in the most comfortable seats. He’s a tall boy as well. Sitting so much in uncomfortable spaces also takes its toll on the body.”

So, what can be done?

“The medical team does give its input to the IPL franchises. We manage a lot from South Africa and it helps that Greg (King, the Proteas’ trainer) is involved with Chennai. We communicate regularly. There are handover processes when our players depart and weekly alerts. If something happens, we make sure the players hear our voices,” said Govender.

Dale Steyn’s shoulder (and arm) is hardly immobile

When the veteran quick cried off with a recurrence of the injury that kept him out of the game for almost two years, there was rightly concern that this might be the beginning of the end.

After all, the magnificent Steyn is 35.

But the fact that he had major surgery on that troublesome bowling shoulder doesn’t mean that he’ll be all stiff when it comes to the World Cup.

“At the moment, the flare-up merely means he’s been rested as a precaution. We’re gradually building him up again,” said Govender.

“As you’ve seen in previous series, Dale’s been able to bowl and throw. We do manage the workload prior to games. So he, for example, wouldn’t throw excessively during practices. He’s functioning isn’t limited.”

Hashim Amla’s in a good(ish) space

His inclusion in the squad was mildly controversial and his domestic form thereafter did nothing to lessen the scrutiny.

It truly hasn’t been a great past few months for the Proteas’ bearded stalwart.

To compound matters, he and his family are dealing with his father’s serious illness.

Amla has recently enlisted national batting coach Dale Benkenstein to help iron out a few things batting wise, but that doesn’t really mean middle practice.

Questions obviously have to be asked over his state of mind.

“I’m in constant communication,” said Moosajee.

“He’s actually doing quite well. He’s done an enormous amount of work in the nets. Mentally it has been a struggle for him, but he has the ability to put it aside and focus on cricket when he spent times in the middle. I’m confident he’ll be fine.”

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