‘Identify key moments and be aggressive,’ says Proteas’ Conrad » Cypher9ja

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The forthright Shukri Conrad is not one to mumble platitudes and, as the Proteas’ new Test coach stands in as white-ball coach for South Africa’s ODI series against England, his message to the team is loud and clear: ‘Success will depend on identifying the key moments’.

With new limited-overs coach Rob Walter still wrapping up his life in New Zealand, Conrad has the reins for the crucial three-match series against the world champions. The matches will be played in Bloemfontein on Friday and Sunday, and in Kimberley next Wednesday.

“I work very well with Rob, I’ve always had a fabulous relationship with him, and we have a little meeting every day. We share similar ideals and there’s lots of synergy between us, it’s like a joint venture,” Conrad said on Wednesday.

Read more: Conrad and Walter – ‘The patient opener and the enthusiastic keeper’

“Both our philosophies centre around identifying when the key moments are and what option to take. Hopefully the players take the aggressive option and that helps us win the game.

“There are obviously concerns around our ODI side, otherwise we would not find ourselves in the position we’re in. Our batting needs to identify and commit to the type of cricket we want to play.

Read more: Proteas go into England series without top-scoring batters

“In terms of our bowling, our strength is right up there. But we still need to identify the critical moments, what to do and hopefully execute aggressively. That will go a long way to being successful,” Conrad said.

Plots downfall

As the experienced Conrad plots the downfall of the current champions in both the 50 and 20-over formats, he is mindful of focusing on the process and not the fact that South Africa need to win at least three of their remaining ODIs this season in order to keep alive their hopes of automatic qualification for this year’s World Cup.

“There won’t need to be much energy spent explaining the importance of this series,” Conrad said. “I don’t want to burden the players with lots of talk about having to win, they all know that.

“We also know England are a top side, so if we can win the series then it will really set up Rob’s white-ball tenure nicely. But I like to think we are still a top team. Top sides play a certain way and we need to deliver that.

“International cricket is always about pressure and it’s been quite clear to me, chatting to the players, that representing their country is still the pinnacle for them, in both white-ball and Test cricket.

“It’s about the process and we’re not focusing our energies on this week only. We will be focused on the key moments in the game, identifying them and taking the right option, and hopefully it will be quite an aggressive one,” Conrad re-asserted.

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