Hall thrives on pressure
All-rounder Andrew Hall is revelling in his role as South Africa’s go-to guy after coach Mickey Arthur hailed him as “the best death bowler in the squad”.
Hall revealed how not having to worry about this place in the side has allowed him to play better cricket.
“It is something I’ve worked on hard over the last couple of years and I’m just comfortable doing it,” Hall said of bowling in pressure situations.
“It certainly helps when you don’t have to stress about your place in the next game; it helps when you know you have a run of games ahead of you.
“The fact that you don’t have to produce a ‘special’ performance every single match just to keep your place actually helps you produce good performances.
“Top-order batsmen are prepared to give the first five or six overs of the innings to the bowlers these days and, if they’re well placed with wickets in hand, they attack the last seven or eight overs of the power-plays. And that’s when I get the ball for the first time.”
Hall added that he relishes the challenge of restricting batsmen’s scoring options late in an innings.
“It’s hard at times but that’s when I want to bowl,” he said. “I want to feel the pressure, I want to feel the intensity of the competition.
“If the match could go either way, if it’s finely balanced, that’s when I want to bowl.
“They might be the trickiest times to bowl, but they might also be the most influential in deciding the course of the match, so that’s where I want to be. It’s a responsibility that I’m delighted to have.
“Death bowlers have a lot to think about - watching the batsman’s feet, predicting his movements, controlling the reverse swing which invariably happens at the end of the innings, remember all the research done on every batsman who may be at the crease.
“The most important thing is calmness and not to think too much.
"You can out-think yourself and end with the triple-bluff! ‘He wants to hit me here, so I’ll bowl it there.’
“You can’t win with every ball, but you’ll win more if you are calm and keep it simple.”
While the South Africa coaching staff and administrators are talking of next year’s World Cup, Hall says the players are concentrating on the present.
“The national squad feel exactly the same way. We set our goals for the next game," he said. "Every team meeting we’ve had this week has been about playing Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
“We haven’t even spoken about Pakistan on Friday, let alone the Indian and Pakistan series at home. The World Cup is months away.
“We all know in the back of our minds that places are up for grabs, but there’s only one way to take care of that — which is to make sure you keep doing your job now.”