The jetlagged Proteas finally got their tour moving yesterday when they had their first net practice at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Reading some of the alarmist reports about AB de Villiers’s physical condition back home, you might have thought that he would be transported to the nets in a wheelchair.
As it turned out he was, in the words of bowling coach Allan Donald, like a “jack-in-the-box” in the nets. Donald added that although De Villiers’ lower-back problem was ongoing, he had made a complete recovery.
“He was all over the place during our game of touch rugby as well,” said Donald, adding that De Villiers would definitely play – and keep wicket – in Friday’s three-day match against Australia A.
Asked how he felt after a long batting session in the nets, AB replied: “A bit rusty, but I’m getting there.”
Earlier, he said he had enjoyed his period of recuperation after South Africa’s unsuccessful T20 World Cup campaign in Sri Lanka, resting, playing the occasional game of golf and spending time with his fiancée, Danielle Swart.
An absentee from the two-hour session was premier batsman Jacques Kallis who woke up with a touch of flu and stayed in bed at the team’s hotel.
This year, Hashim Amla has been one of South Africa’s hardest working, as well as most successful cricketers, playing in all forms of the game. As a result, he has had no cricket since returning from Sri Lanka.
South Africa’s first triple-centurion worked particularly hard in the nets, having a long bat against spin and pace, before having more throwdowns.
Amla confirmed that he had completely recovered from a wrist strain that he first picked up two years ago. “I had three weeks to rest it in Durban,” he said after the session, “and it’s fine now.”
South Africa’s much-vaunted pace attack – minus Morne Morkel who only arrived in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon – also had a good workout. Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and the squad’s back-up pace bowler, Rory Kleinveldt, all eased into action.
Source: IOL Sport – October 31, 2012 / PATRICK COMPTON