Newly appointed fielding coach Justin Ontong aim to improve Protea’s fielding ahead of India visit

The nations play their first of the three Tests at Cape Town, starting January 5.

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Justin Ontong | CricTracker
Justin Ontong of South Africa. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

With the all-important series of India-South Africa just around the corner, both teams have started off with their penultimate preparations. And in a bid to bolster the team for their upcoming challenge, newly appointed Proteas fielding coach Justin Ontong has revealed his strategy to improve his side’s fielding.

Ontong effectively retired from cricket last month in order to take up his role as a fielding coach in Ottis Gibson’s new-look support staff. The 37-year-old revealed his plans on improving the Proteas’ fielding, a department that seemed evidently poor during the Bangladesh home series tour.

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Speaking to the Cobras Magazine, Ontong was quoted saying, “I would like to introduce fielding practices to smaller groups of SA players and sharpen their basic skills even more. One of those skills is to increase the number of direct hits per match.”

He added, “I will have to discuss the fielding plans with the management team in the quest for even greater excellence,” said the former Cobras skipper.

“If I can achieve an improvement of 10 percent overall, it would be a step in the right direction. Small margins can take South Africa to the summit of the Test rankings again.”

India to head into the first Test without any practice match

However, prior to the series against India, the Proteas are set to stage its first ever day-night Test, a one-off match in Port Elizabeth from December 26 to 29. The match will act as a preparatory ground for the rainbow nation before they take on the numero uno Test team in the world.

However, on the other hand, the Virat Kohli led side will head into the first Test at Newlands without a warm-up game. Following the culmination of the T20I series against Sri Lanka, the Indian team is set to leave for South Africa. The Men in Blue have already established their dominion over the Islanders and will look to carry on the form on the foreign soil with their newfound confidence under the tutelage of Kohli.

The nations play their first of the three Tests at Cape Town, starting January 5.

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