May 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
When looking at an ODI batting line up comprising of: Smith, Amla, Ingram, de Villiers, Duminy, du Plessis & Miller / Behardien, the first thoughts that pop in my head is solid & attacking. I think at first glance any Protea supporter will feel that these guys can get the job done on the batting front. However at 2nd glance most Saffers will notice that one name isn’t on the list: Jacques Kallis. In my previous blog I said that if JK was match-tested , available And on form, I’d definitely play him, however I think we all can agree he’s none of the three if you consider: he didn’t play in the 5 game series against Pakistan, he made himself unavailable for the championship and he’s not exactly playing Hussey like innings there in India. So lets move on the 3rd glance.Feel free to correct me, but of those 8 batsmen mentioned, AB & Miller are the form batsmen & are the only 2 that’s actively batting for their respective IPL clubs. Faf (even though back with CSK) & JP are coming back from long injuries, Biff (apart from a lovely 70odd he scored) is struggling with the bat in Surrey, Ingram & Behardien aren’t playing any professional cricket at the moment and Hash dropped (probably willingly) off the cricket world radar since the Pakistan series. Worried yet? I know I am when I see countries like India, Sri Lanka, Australia, West India & England (through county cricket) playing their players regularly in world class & very competitive leagues & tournaments while building up for the ICC Championship.
Lets go the bowling department. Of the 7 bowlers in 15men squad it’s safe to say Steyn has been the pick of the bunch if current form is anything to go by. In the IPL Morkel has been inconsistent & McClaren has only played one game so far. Phangiso last played in the T20 finals for the Lions and Rory, Tsotsi & Robby P hasn’t played cricket since the Pakistan series. Ok now I’m really worried considering we’re only playing one warm up game against minnows Netherlands before we kick off our championship against world cup champs India.
What I’m not worried about is that the coaching staff of Kirsten, Upton and others will make sure that the team will be as best prepared as they can be in this short amount of time. In fact I just read that Kirsten will once again make use of adventurist & motivational speaker Mike Horn to give the squad some oomph prior to the championship. The coach also mentioned that because of the short preparation time he’ll be a little bit more consistent in selection which is pleasing to hear pending he picks a starting 11 based not only on consistency but form (Miller) & experience (JP & Faf) as well. The latter being on very thin ice in my book, much to the disagreement of one of my best buds. My friend is one of those guys that when he likes a player, blindly believes that player is the best in the world, can walk on water & turn pepsi into coke. He also suggested that Faf should open which according to him will improve that stinking average of 27 of his but I really doubt Kirsten would do that.
But like my friend, I too have my favorite players & obviously love it when they’re doing well but cricket is a team sport & when I pick my starting 11, I do it based on whether I’m confident enough that those guys can do the job . But I’m not the coach and It will be interesting to see who Kirsten picks for that middle order. Miller just played the innings of his life, Ingram did just about enough to validate his place in the team, Behardien began to find his feet in that Pakistan series, Faf’s struggling with form as well as coming back from an injury & so is JP even though the last 2 are the more experienced of the 5.
Who would I pick for that 1st game against India? We’ll after giving it some thought; my first 11 batting order would look like this:
Smith, Amla, Ingram, de Villiers, Duminy, du Plessis, Miller, McClaren, Petersen, Steyn, Morkel.
I have to say that I’m not over the moon about just having 4 bowlers with JP being the 5th bowler and considering how comfortable India is against spin bowling, I was tempted to go with Tsotsi instead of Robby P but all in all, I think the 11 above will be able to beat them. Look, luckily for us (or unluckily depending on how you look at it), that irritating ‘C’ word is as reputable for the Proteas as the word ‘great’ is in Naas Botha rugby’s vocab, so we shouldn’t have as much pressure to win as say host England or other favourites like India or even Sri Lanka. My expectations is therefore not so high however I do have the confidence that we’ve as good a chance as any team to win the ‘ship a second time around.