Proteas all-rounder Ryan McLaren believes the Castle Lager ODI squad have learnt from the mistakes which cost them the series against New Zealand last month. The bowlers, in particular, have been looking at areas for improvement, as they prepare for the first Momentum ODI at Chevrolet Park in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
“There has been some reflection on the New Zealand series,” McLaren said at his home ground on Friday. “Yesterday we got together as a bowling unit and chatted about what we learnt and where we thought we could improve this series.”
An indication of the progress has been the bowlers’ concerted focus on their death-over skills out in the middle in the last couple of days in Bloemfontein, a key discipline which let them down against New Zealand.
“We emphasised certain phases of the 50 overs that we as bowlers need to improve our skills on,” he added. “I think it’s an ongoing process, it’s a case of us trying to improve with every game as we start building towards the Champions Trophy.”
Pakistan’s ODI squad is coming off a 2-1 series win against India earlier this year, and they are stronger than their sixth place on the ICC ODI rankings suggests. They have batsmen who are capable of tearing an attack apart but the Proteas are aware that the visitors will be attacking with their strongest weapon, that of their world-class spin contingent.
“We realise that from a one-day perspective their bowling strength is their spinners. We have spoken about that and our preparation has also been specifically focused on how we are going to play their spinners. We know they are an all-round attack; they have good and experienced seamers as well. We have trained well for the spinners but we don’t want to isolate that because there are a lot of other good bowlers in their attack.”
The squad is fully fit with the exception of Morne Morkel, who is still struggling with a hamstring injury. A decision on his availability for selection will be made as late as possible.