AB de Villiers

Biggest motivation is to end the series on a high, says Amla

[caption id="attachment_63078" align="aligncenter" width="580"]India India and South Africa will play the sixth and final ODI of the series tomorrow. Image Source: Twitter[/caption]

XtraTime Desk: Indian cricket team have already completed a historic series win in South Africa as they have already taken an unassailable 4-1 lead in the six match ODI series with one game still left in the series. Ahead of the final ODI at Centurion, Proteas star batsman Hashim Amla feels that  they want to end the series on a positive note by winning the final ODI.

“At every stage in the series you look at the positives. After the first game you feel like you’ve lost but there are still a few to go. Now the positive is you want to end the series on a good note. The coach has a long-term vision and a few ideas up his sleeve, and he has the opportunity to play that. That will give us motivation. You still want to have pride in your performance for the country,” said Amla on the eve of the final ODI.

According to the veteran batsman, missing three key players like skipper Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock in the series was a huge loss for the side and it was the main reason for their series loss.

"All three would be a huge loss for any team. Faf is a brilliant captain and he’s been one of our most consistent players in ODIs so it’s a big loss to not have him around. In saying that it has given an opportunity for the coach to see other guys who were on the periphery with this vision of the 2019 World Cup. We’ve definitely missed Faf and know what a quality player he is,” added Amla.

South Africa haven’t been in this kind of a position in last 10 years time, but according to Amla this kind of situations help them to learn a lot.

“I don’t think in one-day cricket we’ve been in this position. Maybe 2008 in England when we didn’t have a good one-day series. There are always positives and learning to take from it. We’ve got a few younger guys in the team who will think, ‘Phew, one-day cricket is tough.’ But thankfully it will only get easier for them because we haven’t played our best cricket. We’ve played decent cricket in patches but sub-par cricket from what we’re used to. Those are the experiences we’ll take. the World Cup is not far away. India are probably playing their best team. Whatever experience we get against them we will take forward,” said Amla.

South Africa also used this series as an experiment for the World Cup next year, and gave the likes of Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen and Khaya Zondo a chance. But given the results, things haven't gone to plan.

"One of the silver linings of losing a few matches like we have is you can throw out all different learning you are going to take. In this series it has been highlighted that we haven't been able to score runs in the middle period.

"They've been bowling decently and the younger guys and everybody really has learnt more about themselves playing spinners. There has never been an issue before even when we've played wrist spinners around the world," he said referring to the batsmen's struggle against Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

The Indian team took a day off on Thursday and there was not even optional practice. South Africa trained in the morning at Supersport Park, but much of their session was washed off by heavy rain.

The performances of Chahal and Yadav have been the difference between the two teams, insisted Amla.

"Their spinners have played a role as the highest wicket-takers in the series, which is not very common (in South Africa). They've bowled well, and it seemed like we took our first three games to get used to it. We've got better in the last three games.

"We've played decently well against their spinners, but they've been the difference to be honest. They've picked up wickets in the middle period and there's no better way to stop the scoring," he felt.

Kagiso Rabada was fined by ICC and given one demerit point for the send-off to Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan. The former skipper didn't comment on that aspect, but said that bowling has been one of the few positives from this ODI series.

"I think Kagiso (Rabada) has bowled well to be honest. Every game he has looked like he is going to pick up some wickets up front but it hasn't gone that way. We've had Lungi Ngidi make his debut, so he is going to take a lot of experience and learning from the series.

"270 or 280 is not an overwhelming total, but unfortunately with the batting we haven't been able to string enough big scores together whenever we needed to chase. Although we haven't made early inroads we have managed to control the back end of the game. The last 15 overs of their innings haven't run away from us," he added.

Amla came out in support of young skipper Aiden Markram who has found it tough in the absence of injured Faf du Plessis, who scored a hundred in the first ODI at Durban.

Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers were also injured, but the latter has returned for the last three ODIs and the T20I series.

"I've been very impressed with Aiden on the field. He is very composed and has a good idea of what he would like. As a captain, if you don't score runs then the first thing that gets attributed to you is the 'captaincy has affected your batting'. "It certainly happened when I was captain and I've seen the same cliche for other guys. "Aiden is still young in international cricket. Obviously it was a great opportunity for him to captain and I think he's learned so much about captaining and also about batting when you are a captain in international cricket. He's only going to get better."

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