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Maketa a trump card for Proteas in Port Elizabeth Test

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Proteas will rely on the vast local knowledge of assistant coach, Malibongwe Maketa, as they prepare for the day-night Sunfoil Test match against Zimbabwe starting at St George’s Park on Tuesday. Maketa, who has been involved at the Eastern Cape franchise since 2013 until his recent appointment to the national team, says he is fortunate to be able to provide key insight into the expected conditions for the inaugural day-night fixture.

“It has been a blessing for me that my first game involved is at my home ground,” he said in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. “ At least I will get to share some of my experiences with the guys on how to go about getting a result at this ground. In saying that, a lot of the players have played a few Test matches at the ground so they have good knowledge of what is expected. With it being a pink ball Test we are venturing into the unknown, we are looking forward to building a database on how to go about playing pink ball Tests.”

The one-off match may feature a series of firsts for South African cricket, but it will also be Maketa’s first assignment as assistant coach of the Proteas, a role he has taken to with ease following similar roles with the Warriors and the Multiply Titans.

“Fortunately for me I had been assistant coach for a few years down the line before I got the Warriors job,” the former Warriors head coach said. “ It will take a bit of an adjustment, I am aware that I have to drive someone else’s vision, I am comfortable with doing that and I look forward to it.”

This is the Proteas’ first four-day Test match, and along with the day-night elements, presents different challenges and opportunities around achieving a result. Maketa says the squad will not be placing too much emphasis on the uncontrollable elements, and will be focusing on executing the basics throughout each session of play.

“ A lot of people are focused on the twilight period and how difficult it is, but they forget about the other two sessions which are also important and are played during the day,” he explained. “ For us it will be about doing the basics well and making sure that we are winning sessions. Before that we will want to make sure we are winning half the sessions (each hour) and building on that to get a result.”

Play is scheduled to start at 13h30 local time.

Proteas Test squad: Faf du Plessis (Multiply Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (WSB Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (WSB Cape Cobras), Quinton de Kock (Multiply Titans), Theunis de Bruyn (VKB Knights), AB de Villiers (Multiply Titans), Dean Elgar (Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Multiply Titans), Morne Morkel (Multiply Titans), Duanne Olivier (VKB Knights), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Vernon Philander (WSB Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (bizhub Highveld Lions), Dale Steyn (Multiply Titans).