The first Momentum ODI against Pakistan at Chevrolet Park in Bloemfontein on Sunday marks the start of an important period of play for the Castle Lager Proteas’ ODI squad. With less than seven matches to go until their opening fixture against India at the ICC Champions Trophy in Britain, the squad is motivated to create some winning momentum.
“We have 20 games on the trot before we play another Test match so we are able to have a good focus on our one-day team,” Kirsten said ahead of the squad’s first practice in Bloemfontein on Thursday. “This is an important period for the ODI team; I think what is important for us is that we know that we can create some momentum in this team.
“We know that with the players that we have got we are able to win games in difficult situations and that is what it ultimately boils down to. We are all looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead in the next six months or so.”
In that time the Proteas will play Pakistan at home and away, take part in the ICC Champions Trophy and travel to Sri Lanka.
Kirsten says the Proteas management needs to be comfortable with resting the senior players because of the demands of professional cricket, but is equally confident the players coming in can fulfil the same objective.
“I think that the players that are here are the best players in the country; that is why they are selected” he said. “People often say we are experimenting. We are not experimenting, we are playing the best players.
“You have to have a squad, you can’t just have 11, you have to be able to move with the squad. We did that with the Test squad where we had a lot of change-ups. We are looking at the best 18 players knowing that we need to be able to shift and move around.”
The disappointing loss to Pakistan in the KFC T20 match last Sunday has been moved to the archive files, and the focus has swiftly moved to the 50-over format in an effort not to “cross-pollinate”.
“We try and separate the formats out,” he added. “It is important for us that we set out goals about what we want to achieve as an ODI team.”