EAST LONDON, South Africa – South Africa are taking nothing for granted against West Indies in the three-match One-Day International starting here Thursday, despite the visitors’ 2-0 hammering in the preceding two-Test series.
The Caribbean side folded inside three days in the first Test at Centurion to lose by 87 runs before plunging to a heavy 284-run defeat inside four days at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
However, South Africa all-rounder Bjorn Fortuin said West Indies remained “a dangerous side”, regardless of recent results.
“They are a dangerous side on all fronts, whether with the ball or bat. We know they are supreme athletes on the field,” said Fortuin, a 28-year-old left-arm spinner who was called up for the ODI series.
“We are going to need to be at our best in all three aspects of the game to beat them and that’s what we are working towards.
“With Rob [Walter] coming in it will be fresh faces, fresh ideas and not a lot of baggage from the past.”
Walter will take over as white-ball coach after Shukri Conrad oversaw the squad’s preparation for the Test series.
South Africa is generally known for its lively pitches but there is a belief that the strip at Buffalo Park will favor the slower bowlers, especially after proving spin-friendly in last January’s Women’s Tri-Series involving South Africa, India and West Indies.
And Fortuin, who has played three ODIs since making his debut three years ago, said the Proteas were looking forward to the contest in the southeastern coastal city.
“The boys are coming off a successful Test series and we will be looking to build on that and build some momentum,” Fortuin said.
“We have not played many matches at Buffalo Park in the past few years. The pitch has a reputation of being slow and spin will have a role to play.
“We will see on the day and adapt accordingly.”
And with Buffalo Park shaping up to be a happy hunting ground for spinners, Fortuin lamented the absence of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj who was forced out through injury.
“He is a huge loss to the squad, never mind his natural ability with the ball and bat,” Fortuin said.
“He has loads of experience and leadership qualities. Besides his cricket expertise, those are the things that will be sorely missed.”