Cape Town – There are some unfortunate signs already that South
Africa and Australia may not be able to throw the full kitchen sink at each
other when they meet in a three-Test series Down Under in November.
With the Proteas now ranked No 1 in the world but the
third-ranked Aussies having grabbed a 1-1 share of the spoils in South Africa
last summer, the clashes in Brisbane (November 9-13), then Adelaide and Perth
are particularly keenly awaited.
Both the Gabba and WACA grounds traditionally favour pace
bowling, with Adelaide Oval the only likely featherbed, so this department has
been tipped to be fierily contested.
As things stand, South Africa ought to be able to field all
of their current pace battery of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and
the veteran yet remarkably untiring Jacques Kallis.
But their probable “first reserve” throat-hunter, Marchant
de Lange, is in a race against time to be able to be considered for squad
The Cricinfo website reported on Tuesday that Titans
prospect De Lange, the sturdy 21-year-old who has already played two Tests but
returned early from the mid-year tour of England with a back stress fracture, may
not be ready.
He has been withdrawn from the Titans squad for the
Champions League Twenty20 tournament to be staged on South African turf
shortly, allowing for his off-field rehabilitation to continue.
If it is any consolation for the Proteas, though – they are
certainly blessed that a key component like Steyn seldom falls prey to significant
injury – the Australians are probably sweating rather more at present to have
their best speed battery available.
The Baggy Greens’ South African coach Mickey Arthur has been
quoted as saying that their own Young Turks in the pace department – Pat
Cummins, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc – will have to be carefully
“rotated” in the 2012/13 season to manage their loads and try to prevent
The exciting, 19-year-old Cummins has been especially
plagued by problems in that regard, something reflected in the fact that he
hasn’t played another Test match since making his debut against the very
Proteas at the Wanderers last season, where his second-innings figures of 6/79
went a long way to ensuring the tourists’ narrow, levelling victory by two
He bowled with great venom at the Bullring and was
considered to have given even the great Kallis a real “hurry-up”.
Arthur apparently told journalists that Cummins may only be
considered for one of the three Tests, which suggests he is still very much
walking a tightrope fitness-wise.
Earlier this week it was also confirmed that veteran fast
bowler Ryan Harris, almost 33, is out of the series because of shoulder
The Aussies do still have more crusty competitors like Peter
Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson to call upon.
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