“Shake and a wake-up call” – Shukri Conrad on South Africa’s “tough” loss to New Zealand

Shukri Conrad, New Zealand vs South Africa

South Africa suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the first Test match of the two-match series by 281 runs. The hosts put up a brilliant display of bowling and batting and never allowed the inexperienced Proteas team into the match. Many of the big South African names such as Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen are not part of the team due to their commitments in SA20 2024.

South Africa head coach Shukri Conrad, while speaking at the post-match press conference, believed that if it were T20, any individual performance would have won the game for the team. However, he believed that to beat a quality team like New Zealand, South Africa had to be on top every five days. Conrad, saying that six South African players made their Test debuts in the first match of the series, admitted that they would have been forced to confront their qualities.

Shukri Conrad further added that some players in the current team might have realized how tough Test cricket can be. Conrad also said that the huge loss against New Zealand was a big shock and also a wake-up call for the team.

Shukri Conrad talks about South Africa’s loss to New Zealand

He said (as quoted by ESPNCricinfo): “It’s not right. It’s difficult for everyone here. It’s like Burnley go to Anfield every week. If it was a T20, you know one performance can win the game. [In Tests] It’s five days of relentless effort and pressure. You have to be on top all the time against a quality team like New Zealand.”

He added: “Some of them would have taken a hit in terms of the harsh realities that Test cricket brings and possibly how far away they still are. Many feel they are closer to the Test side than they currently are. You spend a few days like they’ve gone before, and that’s a jolt and a wake-up call.”

New Zealand batsman Rachin Ravindra was named Player of the Match for his tremendous double hundred. Ravindra played 240 innings, helping New Zealand score 511 runs in their first innings. Captain Kane Williamson also hit hundreds in both innings. Furthermore, South Africa put up a failed batting show and concluded with 162 and 247 runs in both innings.

David Bedingham was South Africa’s highlight in the match as he played 87 in the second innings. Bedingham took some good shots staying in the field and showed a willingness to stay in the box.

The second test of the series will be held from February 13 at Seddon Park in Hamilton. New Zealand is one of the best home teams in Tests. It is very difficult to beat the Blackcaps in New Zealand in the red-ball format and they bring their ‘A’ game every time they play Tests at home.