South Africa news March 2, 2010

Corrie van Zyl aims for consistency

Cricinfo staff
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South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl has outlined consistency as the primary aim for his team with an eye on the 2011 World Cup. "For me, one of the biggest goals for the team will be consistency," van Zyl told Supersport.com. "We spoke about it in Ahmedabad and it's the one thing we must improve if the team is going to get to number one. Our consistency obviously needs to pick up and it is a concern."

He said the ability to handle pressure was one the most important factors in ensuring consistency. "The players have to make sure that when they are under pressure, they win the big moments," van Zyl said. "They must be calm and able to think clearly so they can execute the game plan under that sort of pressure. Only then will the consistency change, and that is one of the big goals for me."

South Africa's recent tour of India got off to a rousing start, as they outplayed India by an innings in the first Test in Nagpur. The momentum was with the visitors as they managed 228 for 2 by tea on the first day of the second Test in Kolkata before collapsing to 296, and eventually conceding an innings defeat. More than the manner or the margin of defeat, van Zyl was disappointed with the way his side handed over the initiative in one bad session.

"Obviously, after the very good start we had, it was a huge disappointment to lose the second Test, although I thought we played really well on the last two days to try and save the game," van Zyl said. "But it was especially disappointing on the first day, one session basically cost us and we gave the advantage away."

van Zyl's appointment as coach for the India tour was an interim one, after Mickey Arthur resigned days before the team's departure. van Zyl was confirmed as coach soon after, until the next World Cup, a decision that he welcomed.

"It was a relief not just for me but also for the team, they also felt the uncertainty and the effect of that cannot be underestimated," van Zyl said. "Fortunately, it's no longer something we need to worry about. Going into the [India] tour, it was quite difficult because I didn't have time for any preparation. The positive now is that I have a much clearer picture of what we need to do to be a force in India for 2011."

van Zyl believes that the tour to India will stand his side in good stead for the 2011 World Cup, to be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. "I've been in India now with a lot of guys who will most probably represent South Africa there next year. I've picked up a lot about the conditions and the way individuals perform under pressure. We've started the first building block."

South Africa conceded the three-match ODI series through a narrow one-run defeat in the first match and a big loss in the second game. They then recovered well to register a thumping win in the dead rubber in Ahmedabad, an effort that pleased the coach. "Before the last match, we spoke some harsh words and the guys responded unbelievably. It was a nice comprehensive win," van Zyl said.