South Africa enter the Test series against Bangladesh, starting at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Thursday, with a determined hunger to return to winning ways.
The 3-1 loss to England in August put an end to the Proteas’ proud winning streak of four consecutive series wins, a rally the squad is motivated to resume.
The selectors have continued with the consistency in selection that has been the backbone of the squad’s success in the past year, with newly appointed head coach, Ottis Gibson, bringing in fresh perspective and ideas.
Proteas fast bowler, Kagiso Rabada, believes the current mix of players and coaching staff is the perfect balance to revive their winning ways.
“We have just gotten back together after a break and there is a new coach which is exciting,” he said in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
“You can tell that it is a new beginning with the same team, there are only a couple of new faces.
“At the same time we still have our old coaching staff, only the head coach is new. It feels like a new beginning with the same people. We will be settling in and this match will help immensely.
“Things like that happen in cricket,” he said of the disappointing series against England. “We know we are a talented side and we have good skills.
“We want to get back on our feet, in England I don’t think we played bad cricket, we were on the wrong end of some important moments.
“We have recognised that, and will be looking to pounce on them (moments) and get back to our winning ways, we certainly know how to win.
“Everyone has a drive to want to win,” he explained. “That is what we want to do, we want to play good cricket after a long break. We are going to have to get back to it quickly, that is the challenge.”
Rabada and Morne Morkel will carry the fast-bowling mantle in the absence of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, which will be another opportunity to grow and expose the pace resources in the Proteas setup.
The squad had a first glance at the pitch during their first practice at the ground on Tuesday, but have identified the need to adapt to what is presented for Senwes Park’s second International Test match.
“Dale hasn’t been around for a while but he has proven to be a key player, he is world-class and so is Vernon,” Rabada said of the injured duo.
“We do have guys who are up-and-coming so this will be a big test to see whether we can do it without Vernon and Dale. I am quite sure that we can.
“Usually in franchise cricket it’s a good wicket,” he said of the conditions. “It is good to bat and on and the outfield is extremely quick, right now I’m not too sure, we will have to see.
“There is still something in the wicket for the bowlers but they are good batting conditions. There is good bounce and pace, it will be interesting to see how this one plays.”
The only match to be played at the venue was a reflection of the high-scoring nature of the conditions, with South Africa beating Bangladesh by an innings and 160-runs in 2002.
The win was underpinned by a mammoth first innings score of 482/5 led by centuries from Herschelle Gibbs 114, Gary Kirsten 160 and Jacques Kallis 139* as well as a match-winning 5/21 from Kallis with the ball.