Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Walter pleased with progress made by Proteas ahead of World Cup

South Africa won their last three games on the trot against Australia.

Having turned the tables on Australia, hitting back from 2-0 down to win their five-match ODI series on home soil, Proteas coach Rob Walter says he is pleased with the improvement shown by his side over the last few weeks.

Returning to action after a five-month hiatus from international cricket, the Proteas were thumped 3-0 in the T20 series before losing the first two ODI matches against the world’s top-ranked side.

Bouncing back decisively, however, they went on to win the last three 50-over games on the trot, earning a 3-2 series victory and gaining some momentum and confidence ahead of next month’s World Cup in India.

“The main thing we wanted to do was make sure our batting unit got time in the middle and runs under the belt, and we wanted to make sure we exposed everyone in our bowling unit,” Walter said after their 122-run win in the series decider at the Wanderers on Sunday.

“That happened by default, really, and it didn’t happen exactly as we had planned because we had a couple of injuries along the way. But still, the key members of the team got time in the middle and got to play competitive cricket.”

Back on the park

The national squad had not been resting during the off-season, with many players competing in global T20 leagues and Cricket South Africa organising multiple training and build-up camps.

Walter, however, admitted they had needed to get back out on the field in order to shake off any rust and ensure the team were ready to hit their straps at the World Cup, where they will play their first game against Sri Lanka in Delhi on 7 October.

Proteas coach Rob Walter
Proteas limited overs coach Rob Walter addresses the media after the fifth and final ODI against Australia at the Wanderers on Sunday. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

“There’s nothing like strong, competitive cricket out in the middle,” Walter said.

“We had good camps in the winter, we trained really hard, but nothing matches the pressure and competition you face against good quality sides. So from that point of view I’m happy.

“While we did drop a few catches, we didn’t drop any regulation catches. The ones we put down were tough chances, and we took some good ones along the way as well, so in all departments we certainly made progress and improved.”

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