Rob Houwing’s Post Isolations TestXV
December 14, 2012 in cricket
Original Article : http://www.sport24.co.za/Cricket/Proteas/1992-2012-SAs-best-Test-XI-20121213
A few things to note :
Although A spinner is key in your team, I feel Morne Morkel missed out here, but who would you replace him with? To be honest I would rather go to battle with Morke than Adams. thoughts?
1 Graeme Smith (capt) – 105 caps, 2002 to present: 8,569 runs at 49.53
Remarkable longevity as a successful captain, coupled with growing reputation for being a “slayer” of beaten, rival skippers. Also such a big, steel-jawed presence at the crease, with a penchant for really weighty innings, even if not the finest batsman aesthetically that you will ever see.
2 Gary Kirsten – 101 caps, 1993 to 2004: 7,289 runs at 45.27
Another whose stroke-play wasn’t necessarily even the best in his own family … but he’s never minded that sort of tag. Kirsten was an intelligent, gritty and industrious opener who knew his strengths and weaknesses and played accordingly. Responsible for some famous match-saving actions, too.
3 Hashim Amla – 65 caps, 2004 to present: 5,323 runs at 50.69
Part of a new age of dominators at the crease; an absolute joy to watch with his wristy enterprise and increasingly mastery of just about all other aspects of batsmanship. Significantly unflappable, and just gets more and more consistent.
4 Jacques Kallis – 158 caps, 1995 to present: 12,980 runs at 56.92 and 282 wickets at 32.57
Little need to say anything, eh? Legend of the game, and an unparalleled, priceless part of the Test-team furniture for some 17 years, and counting …
5 Daryll Cullinan – 70 caps, 1993 to 2001: 4,554 runs at 44.21
A singular man, but there have been many other singular, high-calibre cricketers. You want “easy on the eye”? Well then, watch DJ Cullinan in full cry, especially if the road is not littered with the stones of a certain Australian leg-spinner who, it must be said, mesmerised many others too. Remember also that he lost some potentially vintage years to isolation. Those stats are more than half decent, nevertheless …
6 AB de Villiers – 80 caps, 2004 to present: 5,894 runs at 49.11
Considering the calibre of those above him in this order, there’s a good chance this team will be “pushing on” by the time De Villiers takes guard … and going hard is his forte! Dazzlingly versatile sportsman, often evident in his enterprising, varied approach to swift accumulation of runs. Not bad to have a No 6 averaging just a tad under 50, yes?
7 Mark Boucher (wkt) – 147 caps, 1997 to 2012: 5,515 runs at 30.30 and 555 dismissals
His batting fell away a fair bit in later years, but Boucher was always a no-fuss, ultra-reliable, record-smashing gloveman and at the peak of his powers also a scrapper of note at the crease. A mischievous thought might be to ask De Villiers to ‘keep in this XI, freeing up other selection opportunities, but forget it … Boucher offered 15 years of mostly exemplary service. Besides, who else is there to enthusiastically say “ooh, I like it!” when a Proteas spinner bowls another straight one?
8 Shaun Pollock – 108 caps, 1995 to 2008: 3,781 runs at 32.31 and 421 wickets at 23.11
Just look at his numbers … which Test team wouldn’t want someone of Polly’s stature at No 8? Apart from being capable of either
gutsing it out for an occasional Test century after top-order failure or giving it a hearty smack before a declaration, his bowling was initially swift and penetrative and in later career eternally cunning and parsimonious.
9 Dale Steyn – 60 caps, 2004 to present: 299 wickets at 23.79
He has been the planet’s top-ranked Test bowler for some time … say no more? The Phalaborwa Express is richly respected the world over for his ability to land the ball regularly in the corridor of uncertainty while simultaneously nipping it away lethally from the right-hander. At his best when manic-eyed and in irresistible rhythm.
10 Paul Adams – 45 caps, 1995 to 2004: 134 wickets at 32.87
Spin bowling: perhaps the one area of obvious limitation for South Africa in the last two decades. But who will ever forget the sensational arrival in the mid-90s of the frog in a blender? “Gogga” was a quirky, appealing character in more ways than just his bowling action, and for a while a glorious possessor of X-factor. You always want a slow bowler in your ideal Test side, and he is a comfortable enough choice, based on both superior average and strike rate to others tried.
11 Allan Donald – 72 caps, 1992 to 2002: 330 wickets at 22.25
“White Lightning” is one of the leading shock bowlers, in the most fulsome sense, of all time and would be an unlikely omission from a South African team throughout its Test history, never mind just since ’92.