Amla: SA will rely on our traditional 'seam' strength

Having pocketed the T20 and the ODI series, South Africa, under Hashim Amla, look for a treble when the first Test starts in Mohali tomorrow.

Hashim Amla believes the team's bowling department are well equipped to handle any situation and track.   -  PTI

India might be banking heavily on rank turners to upstage South Africa in the upcoming Test series but visiting team skipper Hashim Amla today said they will be relying on their seam bowling strength to outwit the hosts in the four-match rubber.

Having pocketed the T20 and the ODI series, the Proteas look for a treble when they begin the first cricket Test here tomorrow and Amla believes the team's bowling department are well equipped to handle any situation and track.

“South Africa's history has been that we have been very good with our seam bowlers wherever in the world we have been. When you have got the quality of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and up and coming KG (Kagiso Rabada), we have been blessed and fortunate to be in a situation that our seam bowlers have done well in the sub-continent and that can be an attacking option. Not many countries can boast of that,” Amla told reporters on the eve of the first Test.

“If you are faced with a raging turner and when JP (Jean-Paul Duminy) plays, it adds the spin option for us.

Obviously with him not being in the team for the first Test it adds a bit more dynamic to the team. I don't think we have to look too far ahead. As I said traditionally in the last 15 years our strength has been the seamers. I believe in the old West Indian saying of 'If it ain't broke so don't fix it.'

“So if seamers do the job for you in the sub-continent or anywhere else in the world so be it. Out spinners over the years have developed mentally and technically to deal with situations of attacking and defending at various times. I think in conditions when wickets turn, spinners have multiple roles. Sometimes when it doesn't turn they fall into a defensive role and when it does turn naturally they turn into an attacking role. Largely depends on what surface we are playing on,” he added.

On his wish of conquering India in their own backyard, Amla said, “I think there has been a slice of history brewing ever since I have started. We have been through many Test series, home and away that have been very memorable. Certainly one of the things that we want to do is win a series in India.

We have never been a part of a series that we have won in India. There are few countries where playing on their home is challenging.

“Like for example Sri Lanka was a very challenging series, being my first assignment as captain with Sri Lanka being very formidiable side. Similarly with India as well.

Playing India at home is considered a tougher challenge for any team. So for us to come on top would be relishing and we are all hoping that we come out on top.”

Amla hasn’t had a very good T20 and ODI series with the bat, but the Test skipper believes a big innings is just round the corner.

“I would have definitely loved to get runs in the ODIs but it worked out that other guys cashed in for me. So as I said when you don’t get runs under your belt you always feel that a big one could be around the corner. You try and keep the same intensity at training, same type of workload and keep doing what you were when getting runs,” he said.

Not willing to give away the team composition Amla though made it clear that Duminy will continue to sit out after injuring his hand during the third ODI.

“It’s unlikely JP is going to play the game tomorrow. We haven’t finalised the team yet. The selectors have come down from South Africa so we will sit tonight and talk about the team. Tomorrow will be the final assessment on whether Morne (Morkel) will be hundred per cent fit for the game,” he said.

Amla also backed Indian team’s stance of having favourable pitches on home venues.

“If you come to South Africa, you will have a South African kind of wicket. So that’s what spectators want and sometimes associations want the games to go five days, but as a player wherever I go in the world I expect the conditions to suit the home team. That’s how I see it as a player, but not always a player’s view is taken as a consideration. It doesn’t really matter to us. We prepare what we think is going to come at us and play to that,” he said.

Amla though believes the present PCA wicket is different from the regular track and will assist the slow bowlers.

“It looks a bit different from the Mohali wicket that I have seen before. Looks like it might turn a bit,” Amla said with a chuckle.

Speaking about their top position in Test cricket for quite some time, Amla said South Africa have managed that reasonably well.

“Being the No.1 team in the world, we have had to deal with this for the last three years and we have managed to deal with it. Lot of us haven’t had victories in terms of series in India, but we have played very good cricket in the last couple of years. Yes, we would like to walk away with a victory and the way the players have handled themselves in the last three or four years I don’t think why we can’t,” he said.

Juggling duties as a batsman and as a leader can be taxing sometimes but not for Amla.

“It’s quite simple, when I go onto the pitch as captain or as a batsman I try and do what’s most efficient to win a game. Whether it’s batting and trying to score runs in the best way possible and as a captain you try and make decisions that take the game forward.

“There are at times when you have to play the game which will ensure a result, sometimes you have to play the game like the result comes a bit later. We all know that the game of cricket is like chess, you got to make the right moves.

Sometimes you get it wrong and sometimes you get a move that works in your favour,” he said.

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