‘Aus to target Smith, AB’
De Villiers and Smith (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - A determined Australia will target South Africa’s two most senior players, AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith, during the test series in February 2014 and will hope to romp to another series-win, courtesy of the ploys they used in the Ashes series, said Boeta Dippenaar, a former South African player.
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Dippenaar said one of the main reasons for Australia’s lop-sided Ashes-win was that they targeted Alistair Cook.
He was like a captain with a broken wing, and it had an enormous psychological impact on the rest of the team.
Many former England players argued prior to the Ashes series that Australia simply lacked the bowling firepower to dismiss England twice. “Consequently, England was complacent when the series started.
“Australia was extremely determined and very well prepared,” he added.
“They unnerved England with a verbal barrage and such was the psychological impact at the Gabba and the momentum they gained from that emphatic win that England could not turn it around,” he added.
“South Africa must be prepared. Australia will no doubt target Smith and De Villiers, and if they could unnerve them and dismiss them cheaply, it will have a significant psychological impact on the rest of the South African team
“But similarly, South Africa will want to target two of their main batsmen, Michael Clarke and David Warner,” said Dippenaar.
Warner scored 124 in the first test at the Gabba and 112 in the third test at the WACA, while Clarke smashed 113 in the first test and 148 in the second at the Adelaide Oval.
Smith scored 234 in the second test in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan. He also added 68, 44 and 47 against India at home in December.
De Villiers was the man of the series against India.
He scored103 in the first test at the Wanderers and a superb 74 in the second at Kingsmead. He also claimed 14 victims behind the stumps.
De Villiers is the number-1 ranked test and one-day player according to the rankings of the International Cricket Council.