Hilton Moreeng satisfied with the intensity of South Africa's first training camp

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South Africa head coach Hilton Moreeng. © Cricket365

As South Africa's first training camp at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria winds down, Hilton Moreeng, head coach of the side, said he was pleased with the way the players adjusted to the new environment and how they are progressing.

"Our assessment for the first camp was very good to see where the players were," Moreeng said. "Our chief aim was mainly to do the players' medical and fitness testing and also help them understand the return to play protocols."

"The last time we were together as a group was at the (T20) World Cup, so we had to make sure to get back into the swing of things and see where everyone is at as far as conditioning is concerned."

The 24-member extended squad assembled - in a bio-secure environment - for a five day camp that began on Monday (July 27) with several medical tests, following which skills sessions were introduced. Despite the COVID-19 enforced break, Moreeng said he was happy with the intensity of the training sessions and that all the players looked in good shape.

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"The environment was completely different to what we knew since the last time we met. So, we had a medical team working around the clock to keep educating and reminding us regarding the COVID regulations that we need to adhere to. We could work with it and players realise - and everyone in the camp realised - it is something that we slowly have to get used," he said.

"(For) some of the players it is the first time they are getting an opportunity and access to a facility to be able to play. With that in mind, so far, the intensity and everything we've seen, i'm quite happy with."

"For us it was important (in) this camp to make sure that we get everyone under one roof to press the reset button. We were keen to see how they are going and continuing to prepare for the upcoming World Cup."

South Africa's last competitive match came at the T20 World Cup in Australia - their heart-wrenching loss in the semi-final. They were scheduled to host Australia in a bi-lateral limited overs series before the COVID-19 pandemic forced that series as well as the following one against West Indies to be cancelled.

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While the Proteas head coach admitted that the break had allowed the group to reset their goals ahead of the World Cup, he added that they were keen to return to the field and eager to continue to prepare for the mega event. The next series on the agenda is the team's proposed tour to England in September. Although there is still no certainty around the scheduling, Moreeng said his side is committed to be able to "hit the ground running."

"With a first possible tour being to England, a big focus of the camp was about getting everyone in the right frame of mind with all the goals that we set ourselves. We want to be able to continue to challenge ourselves and keep improving as a team."

"We also wanted to cover our bases as far as what is needed to be to done to be ready, so if the tour does happen we know that we can hit the ground running."

Former Free State allrounder Dillon du Preez was part of the coaching staff for the camp and worked closely with the bowling group.

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"The role that Dillon du Preez played for us was more on a consultative basis regarding the bowlers. He helped with technical work and worked closely with the seamers. It was good to have him here because of the knowledge and experience that he has. All the players enjoyed the experience."

Much of the work that has gone into the development of South African cricket over the last three years has been with the 2021 World Cup in mind. The core group have players have gathered experience playing in leagues around the world and have added great depth to the squad. If anything, South Africa look primed for the tournament next year and Moreeng is keen that they capitalise on every opportunity that comes their way.

"As I said it's been a good week for us as a group. We are always looking to improve as a team and continue to work hard towards winning some silverware for the country."

"The girls are looking good and things have been working well for us so far. So, we can set ourselves in preparation for the upcoming World Cup," he concluded.