Pace bowling will be at the forefront of SA's strategy, says Gibson

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson has said pace bowling would continue to be at the forefront of his team’s strategy against India.

Ottis Gibson, a former West Indies fast bowler, said, “When you’re playing at home you play to your strengths and at the moment we have some high quality fast bowlers.”   -  AP

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson has said pace bowling would continue to be at the forefront of his team’s strategy against India.

Gibson, a former West Indies fast bowler, said, “When you’re playing at home you play to your strengths and at the moment we have some high quality fast bowlers.”

Even with Dale Steyn ruled out of the series, South Africa has a formidable pace pack in Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada. And the lively pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Morris is in the mix too.

The South African selectors have also named fast bowler Duanne Olivier and the uncapped Lungi Ngidi in the squad for second Test.

Talking about the surface at Centurion, Gibson said, “You saw some good fast bowlers on both sides and from my understanding of Centurion, it is a pitch with some pace and bounce and that will probably be the make-up of the team going forward.”

Gibson added, “I’m a very fast bowling-minded coach and I guess we’ll always have to find a balance with whether or not we can get four fast bowlers in the team, first of all. If not, then we will try and look to shape the team in other ways.”

The South African coach observed, "Ultimately, and especially in this series and for the rest of the summer, we’ll be looking to see how best we can fit four fast bowlers into whatever formula we come up with.”

Asked whether, given the conditions, the South Africans could leave out left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and include an additional batsman in Temba Bavuma at Centurion, Gibson said, "He’s (Maharaj) been spoken to about how we’re going to look to shape for this series and he is very much a part of it."

The South African coach elaborated, "With the nature of the pitch, Kesh (Maharaj) didn’t get to operate as much as he normally does for us, but he is still a very important part of our group, whether he plays or not. Kesh is certainly a big part of our plans moving forward into the summer and even beyond that because he’s a world class spinner.”