Bloemfontein: South Africa's limited-overs form has dipped significantly since they held the mantle of No. 1 team in all three formats last year, but allrounder Ryan McLaren believes the team can hit back in the five ODIs against Pakistan starting Sunday. South Africa lost ODI series to England in 2012 and New Zealand this year and were then hammered in the Twenty20 international by Pakistan recently, but McLaren said the team had been training hard with a focus on this summer's ICC Champions Trophy in England.
"As bowlers, we spent some time discussing where we could improve, with the emphasis on the different phases of the 50-over format. But it's an ongoing process and, as a team, we want to improve in every single game we play, building towards the Champions Trophy and the next World Cup," said McLaren.
There has been some reflection but, from our point of view, it's a new series now and a totally different approach. The Pakistan team may have taken a psychological blow in the test series but they really bounced back in the Twenty20 match in Centurion last week, which would have given them a lot of confidence," he added. "But we have our own goals and we know what we want to achieve in the five matches, so we'll just be focused on our own processes and make sure that they work."
McLaren acknowledged that Pakistan's had superior spinners in Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafee. "Realising that their strength lies with their spinners, our preparation has been partly focused on how we're going to bat against them," he said. "They're an all-round attack which includes some good, experienced seamers as well. So, while we have prepared well for the spinners, we haven't isolated our training towards the spinners only."