South Africa Emerging team coach Shukri Conrad is expecting their Sri Lanka counterparts to bounce back strongly when the two sides begin their four-day series on Sunday.
The two sides will play two matches, the first in Potchefstroom from August 14-17, followed by a second game in Pretoria from August 21-24.
The Sri Lanka Development Emerging team endured a tough time in the recently concluded Cricket South Africa (CSA) Tri-Series, winning just one out of their six matches in a competition won by a University Sport South Africa XI.
“I expect Sri Lanka to come back strong in this format, they’ll be better than they were in the one-dayers,” he said. “They’ve acclimatised more and the weather should be slightly warmer, so they’ll be a lot more comfortable and we’ve got to make sure we are ready.
“We’ve been preparing in Potchefstroom and come Sunday we’ll have to make sure we’re on the money and ready for the four-day competition.”
Conrad was also grateful for the opportunity his players had in the 50-over series, even though they lost to the USSA by six wickets in the final.
He continued: “Looking at the tournament as a whole and the months preceding it, there’s been a lot of positives. There’s been immense growth from a lot of our players, our group’s a lot younger this year (in the Powerade National Academy), which doesn’t equal an excuse for a poor performance…we are disappointed about that of course.”
Conrad has also tipped young all-rounder Jason Smith as a future Protea, saying he had shown over the course of the recent competition, and even before that, he had the potential to play on the highest stage.
The 21-year-old from Cape Town topped the batting and bowling averages and his coach added: “I really think someone like Jason Smith, being named man-of-the-series, and for South African cricket going forward, he’s an all-rounder that we can really start pegging our hopes on.”
Another highly-rated all-rounder part of the Emerging squad is Bjorn Fortuin, who does not feel the change of formats will be too difficult.
“It’s not too strange because most of the guys have played first-class cricket, so it shouldn’t be too foreign to us,” he said. “It’s been a tough couple of months, but we should be ready.” (Courtesy Sport 24)