Proteas aim to be ruthless

HARARE - South Africa captain Hashim Amla says the Proteas are not tempted to take the foot off the pedal against lowly Zimbabwe in a one-off Test match which gets underway at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

The world’s best Test team arrived in Harare yesterday and addressed a press conference at their hotel later in the afternoon.

Amla, fresh from leading the South Africans to a historic series win in Sri Lanka in his first assignment as skipper of the Test side, declared they would not treat the tie any differently.

“Naturally, people will expect the team that’s ranked higher to perform better, but I think from our perspective, we are happy to be in Zimbabwe, it’s a lovely place to be and we wanna win the game,” said Amla.

“We haven’t looked further than that, we gonna try and play the game as intensively as we play every Test match because Test cricket is something that we don’t take for granted; whether you are on top or you are ranked at the bottom. On any given day, somebody can perform so we are not gonna be taking it lightly at all.”

“We could be ranked slightly above Zimbabwe and I think the natural expectation will be for us to do better,” he added.

“I believe Test cricket is about pressure all over, whether you are playing Australia or you are playing Zimbabwe. The pressure to win is always there, especially being the top-ranked Test team.”

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Test captain Brendan Taylor is confident his charges will put up a good show.

Taylor will begin his reign as the country’s five-day format skipper on Saturday following Zimbabwe Cricket’s decision to split captaincy. Elton Chigumbura, former captain across all formats, was appointed the limited overs skipper.

The series comprise of a one-off Test match and three One-Day Internationals.

“It’s really special to have the best side in the world coming to play you on your home turf,” Taylor told reporters yesterday.

“There’s no better opportunity to gauge yourself as a cricketer than against the best side in the world. That’s an opportunity we are all relishing and hopefully we can see some players showcasing their skills and talents because we’ve got some really good players.”

Zimbabwe’s build-up to the series against South Africa has been disappointing with the team drawing against Afghanistan in ODIs and a two-match four-day series. Taylor, however, drew some positives from the Afghanistan games. 

SQUADS

Zim training squad: Brendan Taylor (captain), Vusi Sibanda, Tino Mawoyo, Hamilton Masakadza,  Sean Williams, Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Regis Chakabva, Richmond Mutumbami, John Nyumbu, Natsai Mushangwe, Prosper Utseya, Sikandar Raza Butt, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Mark Vermeulen, Steve Chimhamhiwa, Cuthbert Musoko, Luke Jongwe, Tinashe Panyangara, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara, Shingi Masakadza, Taurai Muzarabani, Michael Chinouya, Neville Madziva.

SA Test squad: Hashim Amla (captain), AB de Villiers, Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl.Proteas aim to be ruthless

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