The five-match T20 series that the Proteas will play in India from this week is going to be a vital time of getting the combinations and plans right ahead of the World Cup in Australia in October, according to all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius.
The series starts in Delhi on Thursday, with nine members of the South African squad having seen action in the recent Indian Premier League.
Pretorius played half-a-dozen matches for the Chennai Super Kings, one of the franchises at the forefront of T20 development, under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“We’re going to be testing ourselves against some of the best cricketers in the world in the Indian team and winning the series is important so we take positive momentum into the World Cup,” Pretorius said.
“Both teams will be looking carefully at this series and seeing who can secure spots in the World Cup team. India are a very strong T20 team and we’ve come a long way too.
“This is a chance to measure ourselves against one of the best, to see where we are and what we need to work on before the World Cup. There are a lot of benefits to this series, and we will see what combinations and plans work.”
The chief takeaway for Pretorius from his IPL experience and interacting with the brilliant cricketing brain of Dhoni was the importance of staying calm and positive.
“My first IPL was a great experience, it’s been one of my bucket list items since I was 20… and I was very glad to have the opportunity to play for CSK, one of the most successful teams,” Pretorius said.
“As players, we were given a lot of responsibility and to play under MS Dhoni and see just how big his brand is and what he’s done for Indian cricket was awesome.
“CSK has a very experienced set-up and the biggest thing I learnt from Dhoni was how calm he is. He takes the pressure away from himself by putting it on the bowler.
“He made me realise that the bowler is the one under pressure. It was a change of mindset because he’s always very optimistic and believes any game can be won by staying calm.”