Zondo relishing England Lions challenge

South Africa A one-day captain Khaya Zondo admits he has a few nerves in his new role, but he is confident he will get over them quickly as they prepare to depart for England.

The 27-year-old leads the 50-over squad for the month-long trip, while Aiden Markram will be in charge of the four-day team.

The first match of the tour is on Saturday when Shukri Conrad’s side play Yorkshire at Headingley and Zondo admits they are ready for the challenge. “I’ve got a little bit of nerves, but it’s natural,” he said. “But on the other hand, I’m actually very confident.

“The guys have responded well and there’s a lot of respect from individual to individual within the team. I think that’s the most important thing.

“We’ve got that ticked and the rest is to see how the guys respond when we’re in competition and there’s a bit of pressure applied to see whether we stick together or break apart.

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“But looking at the group, I think everything will be just fine, the guys seem very strong and everything’s going to be good.”

The South Africans have a strong squad for the trip. Apart from Zondo and Markram, two of the shining lights from the 2016/17 domestic season, the squad includes a host of already fully capped Standard Bank Proteas on their books.

Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi and Duanne Olivier are amongst those that will offer the side some valuable big match temperament and Zondo says they will be going all out to win in England.

“I think we’ve got all out bases covered with seamers and spinners and batters, the only thing is we want to make sure we win this series, that for me I think is very clear,” he said. “The team knows that and the coaching staff also want that.”

The tour includes three one-dayers against the England Lions and one four-day game against their English counterparts.

Zondo believes that if they play as a unit, the results will take care of themselves. He added: “I think if we’re winning that will take care of itself. We’ve spoken as a team because we don’t want it to become an individual-based thing – that’s when things can just go down south.

“Other than that we just need to make sure we’re winning, and if we are winning, that generally means that you are performing and the rest will take care of itself.”