Keshav Maharaj doesn’t highlight SA’s bad ODI record in England

Proteas backup captain Keshav Maharaj is a cool and calm client, so he’s not going to be upset by South Africa’s poor ODI results in England ahead of their three-match series starting on 19 July.

The Proteas have played England in 26 ODIs on their home soil and have only won eight of them, losing 16 and two matches have been washed out. Over the past decade, South Africa have only won three of their last 10 matches against reigning world champions.

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“I have only played two ODIs in England in person, so it’s hard for me to give in-depth information, but we may have been a bit slow to adapt,” Maharaj said ahead of their departure on Thursday.

“In the series in which I played, we lost with a score of 2: 1 and only in the last game did we find our rhythm. England have really succeeded lately with the fresh philosophies of their new coaches.

“But it’s important for us to just play according to our game plan, focus on what we want to do and do the basics well. It will be a good challenge and we always want to try to beat the best.

“I can’t single out the aspects of our game that didn’t work, we just need to trust our process and do a lot better. I am confident that the great hard work we have done will bear fruit.”

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With only 15 months to go before the next 50+-man World Cup, Maharaj hopes his team’s desire to be in the roster for this showcase tournament in India will jump-start his team. Jos Battler’s first series in charge England is hot.

“Obviously in our ODI appearances over the last year or two we haven’t given the performance we wanted,” Maharaj said as he stood in for injured skipper Tembu Bavuma.

“But we picked a team to suit different needs and combinations. I’m sure the game plan will now work out with the various combinations we’ve tried,” he added.

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“Obviously the timing of the World Cup is causing qualifier problems because all the players want to raise their hands. As a captain, you want to create space for everyone to thrive, but they also need to follow the game plan. You want to give people the opportunity to express themselves as part of a team game plan.

“Maybe it would be nice to start the tours with ODIs, we are so used to playing tests first and then moving on to white ball games. But now the guys are fresh and eager to showcase their talent,” said Maharaj, who replaced the injured Temba Bavuma.