November 24, 2011 in Uncategorized
And so we drew ANOTHER test series that we could’ve won. This one was probably the worst one to draw as it was against Ozzies our “Old Enemy” as the series was dubbed and even though test cricket won at the end of the day, the Proteas will (and should) be the more disappointing side of the two. Below is a report card of how the players performed (or didn’t perform) for the series:
The Top Order
Lets start with the captain shall we. I think that Biff will be a bit disappointed with his batting performance in this series. Yes, he did score a good hundred in Cape Town but if you consider the amount of time we had, the number of runs we needed to chase down and his partner (Amla) taking a lot of pressure off him, I think that any batsman in the top 6 could’ve done it. We really needed a captain’s knock in either innings of the second test & our captain played like he did most of the year: Poorly!! Jacques Rudolph was equally disappointing as he too looked great prior to almost every ball where he lost his wicket. Gary Kirsten did say that he will give newcomers enough time to “settle” into the squad and that will be good news for Rudolph. He’s been considered one of the form batsmen in SA for the last 2 years or so and definitely deserved playing test cricket again but he’ll know that if he doesn’t put in a good performance against the Lankas, he’ll be walking on dangerous grounds. Amla was hands down the best batsman of the series and can hold his head high in that regard but he will be upset with himself for not “going on” in his second knock at the Wanderers. Usually a very good play of spin, I can’t wait to see if he can get another big one against Sri Lanka.
Graeme Smith: 5/10
Jacques Rudolph: 3/10
Hashim Amla: 8/10
The Middle Order & Wicket keeper
The middle order will be (and should be) very upset with themselves with their performances in this series as ALL 3 of them at some point or another looked their century was just around the corner. It pains me to write this but I thought that AB was the most disappointing of the 3 batsmen especially in Joburg. In both innings he looked solid & had good partnerships but got out with balls he should’ve just left alone. (By the way, isn’t he the vice captain??) Having said that, it was great seeing him in action again, wasn’t it. The Proteas is kind of in the same boat as the Ozzies (with Ponting) when it comes to Kallis: How do even consider dropping one of the greatest batsman your country has ever produced if he feels that he can still contribute?? Kallis came into this series as the nr. 2 ranked test batsman in the world (and would’ve held on to his nr. 1 ranking if it wasn’t for Sangakara’s performances against Pakistan) so we know he can still bat but an average of just over 19 for the series is simply not good enough. And if you take away his flash-in-the-pan 54 he scored in his 1st innings at the Wanderers he’d be left with a shameful 4 runs for the WHOLE series.
The end of Ashwell Prince is near. In fact I’d be surprised if he plays against Sri Lanka. I think the time has come to either bring back JP to that nr.6 spot or ANYONE else for that matter. Just like Kallis, he had a terrible series with the bat and was no where to found when we needed an “old head” to push through those sessions when some of the batsmen above him, failed to do so. If there was a ranking system where nr.1 is your most important player and nr. 11 your least important, Prince will be latter in my book based on his performances.
When it comes to wicketkeepers, one can’t help but be jealous of the likes of Sri Lanka, India & even England. I’ve noticed that the SA coaches & selectors are pretty chuffed with the bowlers and batters that are waiting in the wings but I hope they’re aware that we’re in a crisis when it comes to keepers. Boucher isn’t getting any younger and it looks like his batting form is decreasing by every series he’s playing. Surely there must be a youngster out there who might be a little rough around the edges but has the potential to become a world class wicky. Surely!!
Jacques Kallis: 3/10
AB de Villiers: 6/10
Ashwell Prince: 2/10
Mark Boucher: 3/10
I hope that the batsmen were responsible for making sure that the bowlers’ drinking glasses were never empty during and after this series for they were primarily responsible for us winning the 1st test and if they had a little bit more runs to play with, they could’ve won the 2nd test for us as well. Veron Philander, who bowled like he was playing against an Ozzie u/21 team, was the find of the series and deservedly the man of the other series by a country mile. Now lets just hope he can keep it going against a Sri Lankan team who has one of the best “top 6” in the world. If he can do a little bit more with bat, the Shaun Pollock comparisons will start flowing in but for now, I think he should settle & focus on what he does best: Bowling! Tahir I thought still has a way to go but I hope he gets the time “to settle into the squad” that Kirsten was talking about. Dale Steyn was just above average by blowing hot one session and then cold another. He’s still the best fast bowler in the world in my book and he still finished with the 2nd most scalps for the series but with the high standards that he set for himself, I’m sure he’ll agree with me that he could’ve been a liiiiiiiiittle bit better. Morkel was a bit of the silent warrior for me in this series. He got wickets (and price ones at that) at crucial times during this series
and adapted pretty well with his new role as 1st change bowler. I expect him to have an even better series against Sri Lanka who are not to keen on playing fast bowlers in the Morkel mould.
Veron Philander: 9/10
Dale Steyn: 8/10
Morne Morkel: 8/10
Imran Tahir: 5/10
So I guess it’s fair to say that we can all see where we let ourselves down. Our batsmen, especially the middle order, will have to come to the party against Sri Lanka. There are quite a few players that are skating on thin ice in this squad and I would like to see how they perform in the upcoming series and how long Kirsten will tolerate them if they don’t.