News24

Proteas stare down barrel

2010-02-22 11:28

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – We must not be deluded by South Africa’s one-run defeat in the first one-day international against India: they were pretty close to being murdered and really should have been.

I fancy they will know it deep down, too.

That they came so remarkably close in Jaipur to what would have been one of the most outrageous smash-and-grabs imaginable, was only because Wayne Parnell and Dale Steyn thrashed about so spiritedly to delay their bloody slaughter in the abattoir, if you like.

Not that I wish to trivialise this splendid rearguard action with the willow: a ninth-wicket stand of 65 in seven-and-a-bit overs takes some doing, and was at least a demonstration of never-say-die spirit in the team.

Paceman Steyn’s blossoming ability to smash an old-fashioned “long ball” – especially straight down the ground – is a virtue to be commended, while Parnell is certainly starting to show just why he was so highly-touted as a genuine all-rounder when he captained the SA U19s.

A sting in the tail is a very handy device in ODIs, and not too long ago it was in short supply for South Africa when Steyn sported far less confidence with the bat and around him, with due respect, were such bunnies as Makhaya Ntini and Charl Langeveldt.

But the Steyn-Parnell near-fairytale on Sunday was precisely that: something you cannot rely on every day. Or even every few weeks or months.

Without it, the Proteas would have been hung, drawn and quartered in Jaipur, especially once they had receded badly to 180 for seven chasing a stiff 299 to win, and might have been bundled out a horrible 100 runs shy had India turned the screws better.

Indeed, with poor shot selection a notable virus in the upper order, I suspected South Africa were right out of it even when they lost their fourth wicket at 134, because I was never comfortable with the balance of the side for the series opener – it always looked specialist batting-light, to me.

Nobody doubts the “finishing” powers of players like Mark Boucher and Albie Morkel, but when a bit of rebuilding is simultaneously required in a judicious dose, you do feel the Proteas will be up against it in situations like Sunday’s.

I also don’t like a Herschelle Gibbs-Loots Bosman opening combination at all: no concerns if it were for a Twenty20 international, but the demands of the 50-over arena are different -- crucially more temperate.

When one of these blasters got out after a suitably high-octane start, the other needed to just knuckle down a tad. That didn’t happen, so the tourists were all too quickly backs to the wall instead of pushing forward coolly.

You do not want to curb either player’s natural cavalier instincts; Gibbs, in particular, has been there and done that in terms of weighty scores in conventional ODIs – 21 centuries tells you plenty – but I do not believe you can accommodate both in the same XI.

I have long argued that Bosman is a T20 trump-card, and that’s the sum of it. (Good on him if he proves me wrong, of course.)

In the unfortunate absence of Graeme Smith – and naturally that is going to be felt, although India are missing key components too -- Test juggernaut Hashim Amla must be restored to the top-order at Gwalior on Wednesday with due haste, preferably partnering Gibbs at the helm.

Some stability and street-smartness is essential, with too much of it being left at Jaipur in the hands of that incredible, ageless cricketer Jacques Kallis.

Kallis showed several colleagues how to do it with the ball, as well, which is both a blessing (read: his own sparkling all-round form) and concern.

The worry is that the Proteas presently field a few “passengers” – liabilities, even? – among their bowling arsenal.

Parnell remains more expensive than many might like as a bowler; he is travelling at exactly six-to-the-over in ODIs although his strike rate is pretty good and you must expect some “tap” treatment against a youngster who has only just completed his 10th match in the format, remember.

Meanwhile Albie Morkel (although he got a “roughie” at the crease) continues to take a bit too much of a pounding, similarly, with his medium-pacers – he might well have conceded 70 to 75 runs on Sunday had he been able to complete a full quota of 10 overs – and off-spinner Johan Botha also labours in this post-doosra era for him.

So the SA one-day side is, I’m afraid, a bit of a work in progress once again, and there is much head-scratching for Corrie van Zyl and company to do.

I am not normally renowned as a prophet of doom but right now I harbour fear that 3-0 to India is a slightly likelier outcome to the series than 2-1 to South Africa, despite the Proteas’ cheeky near jail-break in Jaipur …

Sport24

Comments
  • THE MAN - 2010-02-22 11:41

    good article i agree. Gibbs ahould have been given out twice in the first over, this team really are over rated as an international cricket side.more importantly this team comes accross as childish as they approach their oppenents in a seriously childish boyish manner.who was the captain by the way as south africa seemed to have no leadership.I am truely embarrassed to be represented by this useless team really.boucher in againe?thought we finally got rid of that one? AB uselss as ever...drop AB and put in hashim amla.Although i thinkl kallis is past his expirary date he did the best well done.Bring in Mangaliso Mosehle as wicket keeper to replace boucher going forward

  • THE MAN - 2010-02-22 11:42

    good article i agree. Gibbs ahould have been given out twice in the first over, this team really are over rated as an international cricket side.more importantly this team comes accross as childish as they approach their oppenents in a seriously childish boyish manner.who was the captain by the way as south africa seemed to have no leadership.I am truely embarrassed to be represented by this useless team really.boucher in againe?thought we finally got rid of that one? AB uselss as ever...drop AB and put in hashim amla.Although i thinkl kallis is past his expirary date he did the best well done.Bring in Mangaliso Mosehle as wicket keeper to replace boucher going forward

  • Brett - 2010-02-22 11:48

    Amla has a brilliant record in one-day cricket and should open the batting even when Smith returns. Whilst Gibbs has all the shots he doesn't have the concentration powers to bat for longer than 20 overs. He gives it away far to often.

  • Etienne - 2010-02-22 11:50

    starring down a barrel, it’s just their toes that are showing

  • symphony - 2010-02-22 11:53

    I think Bosman and Botha should be dropped... Bosman more suited for T20 and Botha is average at best once he started bowling legitimate deliveries.

  • Vash - 2010-02-22 11:54

    If Tendulkar & Sehwag didn't run themselves out like they did then the score would have been much higher and the SA would have definitely been "murdered". I don't see much credit been given to Kallis here but he in actual fact held the batting together - Parnel & Steyn would have been well short if Kallis went out earlier. SA need their heads read - the key player (Amla) who has just made centuries was the "drinks" man - what were they thinking of?? I also think a 3-0 victory for India is coming up and they don't even have their best side. Well done India and good luck to SA for the other 2 games.

  • Aussie supporter - 2010-02-22 11:55

    My prediction India will score 400+ in the next OD. Proteas will reach 327 all out Any bets

  • @ THE MAN - 2010-02-22 11:58

    Do you know anything about cricket ? Who the hell is Mangaliso Mosehle ? Kallis past his expiry date ? Hahahaha - Let me guess - you though Ntini wasn't past his expiry date and that he was dropped unfailry ? Typical, predictable and naive. Stick to watching dull 0-0 Soweto derbies my son. At least then you will be forced to talk about something other than White sportsmen. Maybe u can even get to discuss something you have knowledge of ? Who knows .......

  • Zuntino - 2010-02-22 12:01

    Firstly, respect to Parnell, Steyn and Kallis, good job, nice try! Seriously now ROB, we can't expect Bosman to come in and perfrom straight away, he is a talent and will prove you wrong, but leaving Amla out was stupid! He is full of confidence and we need to use that to our advantage. I wanted to vomit when I heard Robin Jackman saying Duminy should be in the side! WTF??!! AB is also becoming a "passenger", he only ever perfroms when there is no pressure and when the guys above him have posted big totals, his whole attitude is one of pure contempt and no worry. It's as if he knows he will be in the side no matter how K@K he plays. He needs to start playing cricket now, not worrying about his blog or his musical numbers!!! I'll say it again, they guys are psychologically damaged, at the first sign of trouble they all buckle, the only reason the tail did so well is because it's not their responsibility, come on proteas, you guys are good, now prove it!!!

  • JOE - 2010-02-22 12:05

    I wouldm say the whitey,s are pretty useless, Amla, Parnell, Gibbs or Peterson gotta save them all the time?Duminy last year pulled them out of the fire ..fire them all and make the Cobras proteas except Smith

  • Tieho - 2010-02-22 12:06

    Should have could have balalalalalala...whatever! they boys played well and since they are eleven in a team be it we are 100/9 or finish 300 all out, the only that matters is the "team" played, if you are bitching about the tail not wagging its some else why not say period-a great team effort-idiots! it seems this team can not do right in your eyes. they pulled it as close to home as they could, for the rest of bugg off and write soemthing encouraging to the boys for a change.

  • My Team - 2010-02-22 12:06

    1Smith 2Amla 3Gibbs 4Kallis 5Peterson 6Duminy 7AB 8Parnell 9Steyn 10Botha 11Langerveldt Backup batsmen - L Bosman Backup bowler - M Morkel Backup WK - H Kuhn

  • Clive - 2010-02-22 12:10

    Just a short one for ''The Man'' , stick to football because you clearly have no idea about cricket.

  • Ivan @ the man - 2010-02-22 12:12

    You forgot Ntini as captain.

  • Raj - 2010-02-22 12:19

    I think if you consider we came to within 1 run of victory, with what this fool describes as an imbalanced side, then I think India should be worried. consdiering the umpiring blunders, whioch generally went against us....the Indians don't come across as convincing to me. THE MAN--I have no idea what you mean by " the proteas comes accross as childish as they apporach their opponents in a seriously childish manner"... ???

  • edwin - 2010-02-22 12:20

    2 reasons why the Proteas lost: Too may wide balls(13 if I remember correctly) The Proteas cannot play spinners.

  • Just Cricket - 2010-02-22 12:24

    @THE MAN. What is Bosman doing there? He has a first class average of only 29. One 50 in 11 ODI innings and 21 average good enough? Drop AB who is averaging 39 in ODI's !!! Ha aha ha ha...... If anything Amla should replace Bosman. Ha ha ha Mangaliso Mosehle at 19 years of age??? 22 first class average vs Boucher who has a 33 first class average? Don't be a dufuss, he is nowhere near good enough. Why not select the whole u/19 team then "for the future"? Whatever r@cist!!!

  • Skiballas - 2010-02-22 12:25

    @ THE MAN...all you credibility went out the door when you named a replacement wicket keeper that nobody has ever heard of before. And AB useless? The team is not balanced, and did lack leadership (but then people should stop having a go at Greame). I reckon Amla needs to be there, and AB should keep wicket in place of Boucher. Colin Ingram seems to have a very bright future, and would love to see him have an extended run in the middle order. I think Albie is on borrowed time, and think we should look at "My Man Rusty" Theron to step up to the national team. Johan Botha has also lost a bit of his sparkle, maybe having a Faf du Plessis alongside Roelof would also strengten the batting and add variety. Lets blood some new blood, but actually give the guys who are performing locally and are averaging 50 plus a chance, instead of giving players like Duminy and others the chance to play when they did not always perform that well locally.

  • cassmit - 2010-02-22 12:28

    @ THE MAN, loots bosman failed again, now you want to drop ab (check his avg) for amla and replace boucher with mangalosi (have you ever heard of me) mosehle, would like to know if he can hold a bat. If you are so embarressed stop watching. I enjoyed the game, they showed some fighting spirit and that is entertainment.

  • Mundo - 2010-02-22 12:30

    @ Rob Houwing. Loots is in the team to score quick runs up the order to relieve pressure off the team if we chasing a big score or score some quick runs to give SA and advantage to post a big score as opposed to Amla who will inevitably block us to a loss. Make no mistake, Amla is a good player but you cant have Kallis and Amla(both very slow scorers) in the same team. It just creates unnecessary pressure on the other guys to score quickly and ultimately loose their wickets cheaply.I was actually mad at him(Loots) because he giving his wicket away.

  • Ridy - 2010-02-22 12:30

    Hi Good game but SA never does win close matches as for Gibbs he must go the man was dropped and made a few 50 or 60 s for his province and comes back in the Team again this is definatley SA's blue eyed boy. Do you want an opening batsmen to make 20 to 25 of 20 balls and get out or somebody to play a good holding role with 85 to 100 of 110 balls.Amla to open get rid of blue eyed boy with all dew respect he was a brilliant and consistent batsmen in his time not anymore. Gibbs hang in your gloves and retire with some dignity and pride.

  • Mangaliso Mosehle - 2010-02-22 12:31

    I have to agree with 'THE MAN" I need a game in the Proteas side. Common, man i aslo went to Gray college in the Orania. I also look white. My hero is Thabalaba Zondi (opening batsmen for Zimbobawe) Please, make a petition and send to Keeper Wezzels.

  • Ridy - 2010-02-22 12:31

    Hi Good game but SA never does win close matches as for Gibbs he must go the man was dropped and made a few 50 or 60 s for his province and comes back in the Team again this is definatley SA's blue eyed boy. Do you want an opening batsmen to make 20 to 25 of 20 balls and get out or somebody to play a good holding role with 85 to 100 of 110 balls.Amla to open get rid of blue eyed boy with all dew respect he was a brilliant and consistent batsmen in his time not anymore. Gibbs hang in your gloves and retire with some dignity and pride.

  • bill - 2010-02-22 12:33

    I cannot understand that the following UNDER PERFORMING players are always in the team . They are only playing on reputation and I amsure if it wasn't for the big contracts they have they would have been dropped lomg ago. Gibbs, Albie Morkel, De Villiers We must have a team of performers and not reputations.

  • Mike@CapeT - 2010-02-22 12:33

    I agree.....South Africa were down and out half way through their innings. They cannot expect the tailenders to come to the rescue everytime which is exactly what happened in the 2nd test as well! The specialist batsmen need to buckle down and play with more application ala Hashim Amla.

  • Richard - 2010-02-22 12:33

    Guy's slowdown. Cricket is a team sport, 11 players and all 11 must carry their own weight in internationals of any sort. As South Africans we always want to kick the coach, selectors, captain, palyers whenever we loose. The fact is that we are bad losers and fair weather supporters in this country, we cannot handle it and we want blood everytime we lose, no matter what sport. The squad in India is what the guys have to work with, If Bosman and Gibbs both get it right we are 200/0 and nobody moans. They cannot do it in every game. The bowlers have to play their part, the fielders theirs. In this particular match having a go at the batsmen when the bowlers gave away almost 300 is unfair. Changing the backroom staff prior to the tour didn't help either. Give the guys the credit for coming close and lets build them up instead of breaking them always.

  • Dave B - 2010-02-22 12:34

    So AB want's to be the 'best batsman in the world' sorry lad you've still got a long way to go, I'm 70 years old and I don't think I can wait around that long to see it.

  • peter - 2010-02-22 12:34

    Good article. We should pick players on form. Out goes Bosman, Gibbs, Morkel, Botha. In comes Amla, Van Wyk, McLaren, van der Merwe.

  • ELSA - 2010-02-22 12:37

    WHY CAN'T YOU PEOPLE FOR ONCE JUST SUPPORT A SA TEAM. YOU ARE THE LOOSING BUNCH NOT THE PROTEAS.STFU TO ALL OF YOU COMPLAINING AND BITCHING SIDE LINERS

  • Lesley - 2010-02-22 12:37

    India will BEAT SA 3-0 as they are the side they use to be.

  • Just Cricket - 2010-02-22 12:42

    @Zuntino, @THE MAN. Bosman IS not EVEN an average first class player: 21 average in 11 ODI innings ; 29 first class average in 169 innings ; 28 List A average in 143 innings. He only shines in the 20 over format: 35 average in 37 Twenty20 innings and 51 average in 6 T20Is innings. Only 6 hundreds and 55 fifties in all of 366 innings. He has had enough cricket to prove himself. All he has proven is he is NOT good enough for domestic cricket let alone international cricket. He averaged 19 in the MTN40 in 10 innings this season (highest score of 44), yet he was chosen for this tour? Sorry, but he is NOT there on merit. Alviro Peterson averaged 14 in the MTN40 in 9 innings this season, yet he was chosen for the last ODI, while AB averaged 52 and Duminy (low on confidence now) averaged 53 in the MTN40. Kallis scored 160 runs without being out at a strike rate of 142 in the MTN40. Not good enough? Reached sell by date? Duminy in for Peterson, Amla in for Bosman, and van der Merwe in for Botha.

  • mojo - 2010-02-22 12:57

    Well done Gary K. The best team on the day was nearly denied it. Great entertainment and that's really what one wants.

  • Zuntino@Richard - 2010-02-22 12:57

    Richard I agree with you, but where do you draw the line, AB de villiers never performs under pressure, only when people higher than him have scored and there are too many passengers, see Bills comments, there are far too many players in the team that are there purely on reputation and the coach, selectors, captain whatever seem to not understand the meaning of procrastination, how many chances does one guy need? We need to stick with in-form players... I still can't believe Amla was not in, what logical reason could they possibly provide for that, everyone says he's slow but I'd rather have him come in and score 50 off 60 than 25 of 25.... @Bill and Dave B, well said, 100% agreed!

  • Critic - 2010-02-22 13:05

    Lets just blame Smith, oh wait! he didn't even play, mmmm, makes one think doesn't it? Anyway to the Proteas Well done, you guys make us proud

  • Larry - 2010-02-22 13:09

    Add the lousy Bowling in the last 5 overs, by the Indians, which I doubt will happen again and I agree that we would have been stuffed and mounted. Had the Indians bowled as they normally do, I doubt that Stein and Parnell (highest score for him) would have lasted or scored anywhere near what they did.

  • Sigmund Geldenhuys - 2010-02-22 13:10

    I think that Albie Morkel is not the all-rounder that we all hoped he would be. If you balance the runs which he concedes as a bowler (without getting many wickets) against the runs which he scores as a batsman then his bowling is a huge liability

  • THE MAN - 2010-02-22 13:11

    this is the team that should be playing.Hashim Amla Vice captain,Alviro petersen,Makhaya Ntini As Captain,Saidi Mhlongo,Loots Bosman Mangaliso Mosehle as wicket keeper,Ethy Mbhalati,Dale Steyn,Lonwabo Tsotsobe,Monde Zondeki,Herschelle Gibbs,Vernon Philander. i say out with the old and in with the new ASAP

  • WeZo - 2010-02-22 13:11

    Should have been murdered? dam thats the worst comment ive ever seen!!! completely disagree! and why hate on Gibbs? he just scored the most runs in the MTN40 tournament! but Amla is needed!

  • realist - 2010-02-22 13:11

    Just send Gibbs a big box of doobeys and a case of Jack Daniels and stand back and watch . It would also help if you let him put a few bob on the game as well.

  • THE MAN HATER - 2010-02-22 13:12

    @ THE MAN - you really are a dumb boon. Go back to the bush.

  • IF only... - 2010-02-22 13:15

    A very well written article. The fact of the matter is SA was reduced to 180/7 and that in itself is a hiding. Parnell and Steyn was a bonus, we have seen it before and definitely wont see it again for a very long time. One can equate it to OZ tailender making a century in a test match. If SA is going to rely on the same side thinking that they will win, then they will definitely get beaten as i dont see India playing Shreesanth again in the near future as his fielding and bowling was poor giving the hosts almost 80 runs. With all the "IF's" and "BUTS" the bottom line is India won the match by a single run. A victory by 1 run cannot define how well you played or how poor one has played. We can go on about the umpires decisions, but it wont get SA a victory (180/7). remember there is no such a thing a an occassional drinker, you drink or you either dont. SA lost and however small the margin was, it aint going to bring them the win (180/7) They have to pull up their socks and egt rid of a few players to strengthen their side. You cannot allow bowlers to take wickets and bat a side to victory.

  • SMITH - 2010-02-22 13:18

    So refreshing , for once people are not blaming Smith and calling for his head. But then at least Botha is proving how 'valuable' he is to the team. Come lets scream... 'make Botha captain'. It is seriously lacking in today's comments.

  • Arthur Symington Smythe - 2010-02-22 13:21

    Loots Bosman, good heavens he is the poster boy of a Quota Playa. Done absolutely nothing. Even as poor as AB is playing, he still looks like Don Bradman compared to that plonker Loots Bosman

  • Justin - 2010-02-22 13:25

    two words.........HASHIM AMLA

  • Twisted - 2010-02-22 13:25

    Botha unfortunately has to go right back to the beginning. He is no longer the bowler he was against Australia. And the management knew it when they selected him. In the "other all-rounder" role (Albie Morkel, Mclaren, Parnell) it's a case of six-of-one . . . But the new regime will go with Morkel. Boucher will go soon. Keep an eye on who sits with whom in the chatroom.

  • Just Cricket you have now completely lost it!!! - 2010-02-22 13:26

    Drop Alviro????? You are not serious!!! Have a look at his ODI average. I think he might just have the 2nd highest ODI average (after Amla). Amla in for Bosman, I agree. But hell buddy, calm down. Bleed all the stats you want, Alviro is there completely on merit. Roelof is a bit and parts bowler at the very best. He does not strengthen our batting one bit and he has no brain. Duminy in for Boucher maybe as this would give us more bowling options, people can say what they want, he is still the most talented SA batsman there is.

  • Spartikus - 2010-02-22 13:29

    I am just wondering who is going to blamed for this one.? Duminy, Prince and Smith didn't play. This was the weakest batting line up I have seen in years. Smith is going to be missed in this one day series.

  • OzMan - 2010-02-22 13:41

    to all those who think that Amla is the greatest. Dont be fooled. This guy needs to perform the way he has against Australia, England, Sri Lankla. If he is consistent then i agree, but if not, he probably wont be selected in the future.

  • sa fan - 2010-02-22 13:47

    Hashim Amla. Majola off his rockers to leave AMLA out. Hashim Amla, Hashim Amla,........................................................... Hashim Amla.

  • Rico - 2010-02-22 13:50

    I said it many times before, and I will keep on saying it. CSA MUST GET RID OF CORRIE van ZYL AND KEPLER WESSELS!!! THEY ARE GOING TO DESTROY THIS TEAM.

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