England in SA

Bosman ups his T20 value

2009-11-16 13:23
Loots Bosman (File)
Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Loots Bosman has dramatically reinvented himself as a Twenty20 player, courtesy of his two-game weekend rampage for South Africa against England.

The 32-year-old, making up lost ground after a fairly lengthy period bedevilled by injuries and other drawbacks, will have made scouts at this format sit up and take notice of his big-hitting abilities anew, you can be sure.

Remember that Bosman, who has found a fresh franchise home in 2009/10 with the Dolphins, was an initial draft pick for Mumbai Indians in the cash-flush Indian Premier League (with a value of US$175,000) although the star-studded outfit released him from his contract - after no activity for them - this year.

It is hard to imagine, following successive, hurricane knocks of 58 off 31 balls and then 94 off 45 balls against a punch-drunk England attack, that the stocky right-hander will not earn a fresh salvo of inquiring IPL phone calls - whether from Mumbai or elsewhere.

He is also now a deserved, “dead cert” for the Proteas squad for the next ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean next year and, if he markets himself shrewdly and keeps smacking the ball “long”, might earn himself some particularly lucrative twilight years in the T20 arena worldwide.

I stress T20 because I firmly believe that this environment, almost exclusively, is where Bosman’s future lies.

SABC commentator Neil Johnson, roving rope-side with the microphone after Sunday’s 170-run alliance in 13 jaw-dropping overs between Bosman and captain Graeme Smith, got carried away enough to ask Bosman how he felt “going into the ODIs” that immediately follow the shared T20 tussles.

Of course Bosman has not been picked for the South African squad for the first three (of five) ODIs, and there will doubtless now be some indignation among enthusiasts who possibly do not respect the key difference between the 20-over and 50-overs codes.

Yet the selectors have probably got their Bosman call right, even as they did not have the benefit of witnessing his Wanderers and Centurion tornado against the English.

The Kimberley-hailing player looks as though he has added a few handy off-side strings to his stroke-playing bow, yet essentially he remains a happy-go-lucky slogger, zealously seeking out “cow corner” and nearby areas by instinct, and tailor-made for Twenty20.

I fancy, too, that he likes the ball coming on a bit, as tends to happen on gun-barrel-straight Highveld belters, and will have to make adjustments anyway for the global T20 jamboree in the West Indies.

Fuller ODIs call for a noticeably more refined and circumspect approach, especially if there is some conventional swing about early and then the reverse brand as the ball gets progressively scuffed and muddied, and Bosman may just be too impulsive to make the change.

Revealingly, he has been tried already … and found generally wanting. In 12 internationals at the 50-overs game, he sports a modest 204 runs at 20.40, helped by 88 against Zimbabwe on Potchefstroom’s often paradise-like pitch. His last six scores are 22, 6, 0, 4, 2 and 0.

I would be tickled pink if he proved me wrong, and does claw his way back for a successful second wind in ODIs.

He has admirably promised, in the England-bashing afterglow, to “go back and get runs for my franchise” rather than gripe about his non-selection for South Africa’s initial ODI assault.

And maybe there is a new maturity about Bosman’s game, all-round: his last first-class appearance before the proverbial three men and a dog and no blaring music is pretty instructive.

Playing against a full-strength Titans attack (Messrs Steyn, Harris, two Morkels and more) at SuperSport Park in late October, he reined in his natural aggression to register 45 off 112 deliveries and then 53 off 125 in a keenly-contested draw.

But my gut feel remains: leave Bosman, I say, to revel and prosper at what he is good at (very good at: 257 runs in six T20 internationals at 51.40 and a dazzling strike rate of 170.19 tells you as much).

Let him join the burgeoning crop of belters earning worldwide “oohs” and “aahs” almost entirely at the very shortest, hippest form of the game …

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