Hamza talks lessons learnt from Mumbai spin camp

South Africa A batsman Zubayr Hamza, who made a tournament out of the A tour with scores of 63 and 93, believes it is essential to respect the spinners.

Zubayr Hamza also credited head coach Russell Domingo for his mindset education.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

South Africa A batsman Zubayr Hamza, who impressed with scores of 63 and 93 in the ongoing four-day Test series against India A, was one of the candidates in the spin camp — organised by Cricket South Africa — in Mumbai earlier this year.

The lessons proved effective once he landed for the A games. On a rain-hit Day 4 at the Platinum Oval, Hamza revealed how the camp turned him into a better batsman.

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“I worked a lot on footwork and playing the ball as late as possible and respecting the spinners. For me, it was just changing small things but just sticking to the basic strength of my batting,” he said on Sunday.

South Africa, of late, toughened its approach towards spin. Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock even designed a spin mat to help his compatriots.

“We are just trying to better our game as an individual to play in different parts of the world.

“As an individual, you try and learn as much as you can and try to become a better batsman. Everyone tries to become as good as they can be, regardless of conditions,” he added.

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Hamza also credited head coach Russell Domingo for his mindset education.

“It takes lot of mental strength to stay positive and back myself. I think it is more self belief with the help of Domingo. He has made small changes to my technique but helped a lot with the mindset, which is required for playing at a higher level than I am used to,” said Hamza, who had smashed an unbeaten hundred (104) in the warm-up game.

After losing the first Test by an innings and 30 runs, Hamza ensured he stuck around to help his team to a decent total while batting second in the ongoing Test. He missed the hundred by a whisker.

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“I think we took the loss quite harsh. We had high spirits and positivity coming here and to be dominated like that was a tough pill to swallow,” he said, adding, “Scoring a 100 in the warm-up game and then a duck in the first innings of the last test showed the opposite end of spectrum in cricket. I could have converted in the second innings in the first test as well. I am happy I could contribute.”

Hamza’s temperament and shot selection could help him earn an international call-up soon.