Domingo's men turn tables on limited-overs struggles

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The Proteas returned to South African shores on Satruday sporting two trophies for their efforts against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates yet, in a very rare occurrence, neither of the shiny objects in their possession were for their dominance in the Test arena.

The Proteas returned to South African shores on Satruday sporting two trophies for their efforts against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates yet, in a very rare occurrence, neither of the shiny objects in their possession were for their dominance in the Test arena.

Prior to their departure coach Russell Domingo's men promised they would improve their conversion rate in the shorter formats of the game and that is exactly what they accomplished.

On Friday the Proteas made it two-nil in the T20I series and were subsequently promoted to third place on the ICC's team rankings for the shortest format of the international game – while their four-one dismantlement of Pakistan in the ODI series may very well have signaled the beginning of a very prosperous time for the team.

Admittedly, their start to the five-match ODI series was as wobbly as their first performance in the Test arena this season, yet that turned out to be the last time on tour the hosts would taste victory.

And while there were several brilliant individual performances during the time they spent in the Gulf, what really stood out for Domingo was their work as a collective.

The South African coach was most pleased with the fact that his players took greater responsibility for their actions and singled out batsman AB de Villiers for his contribution as one of the team's leaders.

"I think AB made big strides this tour, but in saying that it is always nice when the team is winning and the players are playing well." said Domingo.

"I'm majorly impressed with the character and the team desire to improve and also the acknowledgement that they probably weren't good enough in this format."

While the faith that was put in young Quinton de Kock at the top of the order and the decision to turn to specialist spinner Imran Tahir contributed immensely to the team's success, Domingo indicated that there was a new level of maturity in the group.

"The results came, but I was more excited with what I saw happening behind the scenes," he added.

"We know that there is a lot of work to be done in both short formats, we've taken some baby steps this tour and hopefully we can continue to build on that."

The Proteas still top the Test rankings despite the drawn series and are ranked fifth overall in the 50-over format.

Domingo said that he is well aware of what is expected of the team and vowed that they would continue to work hard at improving in all departments.

"We know that the South African public and the South African media demand that South Africa is always at the top echelon of all formats of the game and that is where we strive to be, but it is not that easy," he insisted.

Meanwhile, Pakistan have arrived in South Africa for their ODI and T20I series' without kingpin fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who sustained an injury during the last T20I clash.

This will undoubtedly take some pressure off the Proteas batsmen, who have struggled to deal with the steep bounce Irfan extracts from almost any wicket.

"Look we are tired of him and Saeed Ajmal at the moment," quipped Domingo.

"They are two world-class bowlers and both have been a thorn in our side for a period of time now.

"Irfan doesn't give you much to hit, he is always at you, he gets such a lot of bounce, he bowls really fast with the new ball, so we are not too displeased that he is not coming to south Africa – to be honest."

The first T20I between the two sides, who have just completed a full tour, will take place at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

<b>Michael Mentz in Johannesburg</b>

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