"It's good that we're going as underdogs" - Proteas captain Neil Brand ahead of 2-Test tour of New Zealand

Duanne Olivier (R) will be decisive to South Africa
Duanne Olivier (R) will be decisive to South Africa's chances. (Credits: Twitter)

Ahead of the New Zealand tour, South Africa's uncapped Test captain Neil Brand underlined that the 'underdogs' tag gives them motivation. The opening batter stated that they are privileged to be wearing the Proteas' badge and that they want to gain something from the series.

Due to the SA20 league, Cricket South Africa (CSA) have named a rookie-heavy squad for the two-Test tour of New Zealand. The squad of 15 has right uncapped players, with fast bowler Duanne Olivier's 15 Test appearances proving to be the highest. Olivier is one of only two players to have played at least 10 matches in the format.

Speaking on Friday, Brand stated that the Proteas have enough first-class experience to put New Zealand under pressure and that they are happy going in as underdogs.

As quoted by SA Cric Mag, the 27-year-old said:

"Someone pointed out that we have an average of 96 first-class games per player. That’s a lot of experience. We’re going to give it our best shot. I think it’s good that we’re going as underdogs. People have written us off and we’re using that as motivation. At the end of the day we’re still wearing the Proteas badge and we’re desperate to come back with something."

Brand, who opens the batting, has a promising first-class record. He averages 39.26 in 51 first-class matches and has tallied 2906 runs, with six centuries. He is likely to bat alongside Edward Moore at the top of the order.

"I’ve seen him do it, and it makes me want to do it" - Neil Brand credits Dean Elgar

Dean Elgar. (Image Credits: Getty)
Dean Elgar. (Image Credits: Getty)

Brand claimed that Dean Elgar's grit as an opener has been his biggest inspiration and added that he is wary of New Zealand's strengths. The Johannesburg-born cricketer said:

"Opening the batting you have to learn to be tough. That’s something I’ve learned in the past few years, batting with Dean – how to score runs in tough situations. I’ve seen him do it and it makes me want to do it as well. New Zealand are a settled side and they have been very good in their home conditions. They’ve got a good bowling attack and a long batting lineup.”

The first Test between New Zealand and South Africa will begin on February 4 at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

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