T20: Proteas light on off-spin?

2012-12-11 22:17
Johan Botha (AFP)
Cape Town - South Africa will probably find themselves short on an ingredient that has generally served them well when they face New Zealand in three Twenty20 internationals shortly: off-spin.

Both at T20 and one-day international level, the Proteas have enjoyed in recent times the variety offered - albeit particularly on slower, turning tracks - by a frontline spin arsenal featuring “offie” Johan Botha and the left-arm fare of Robin Peterson, supplemented by the further, often under-rated off-spin of middle-order batsman JP Duminy.

But Duminy is a long-term injury casualty who will not see any international activity on home soil this season, so that element has been automatically lost.

Some reports on Tuesday suggested that Andrew Hudson’s SA selection panel might still consider the claims of Botha, who now leads South Australia in all formats of the game Down Under on a two-year deal, before they announce a T20 squad on Thursday to face the Black Caps.

The wily 30-year-old is an interesting case because he has not officially retired from international cricket, despite his faraway location in the southern hemisphere summer clearly now counting against him to a great extent.

Sport24 has since established from an impeccable source that a call-up for Botha is “unlikely”.

The former Warriors stalwart, who has represented South Africa - often with aplomb - in 118 limited-overs fixtures, is in the thick of commitments for Adelaide Strikers in the T20 Big Bash League.

They opened their campaign on Sunday with a comfortable victory over Perth Scorchers (the team compatriot Herschelle Gibbs represents) at the WACA, Botha bowling a typically economical spell of 4-0-23-1 and being five not out when the six-wicket win was achieved.

That tournament is ongoing to January 19, when the final is played, so any interruption by skipper Botha to resurrect his Proteas career in the interim would be a pretty complicated exercise.

South Africa play the three T20 games against New Zealand on December 21 (Durban), December 23 (East London) and December 26 (Port Elizabeth).

Incumbent player Peterson, who also successfully restarted his Test career after a lengthy absence in the decisive encounter against Australia at Perth recently, seems a virtual certainty to be included in the squad, and that probably leaves room for a shootout between rookie Aaron Phangiso of the Lions and the more experienced Titans competitor Roelof van der Merwe for an extra spin slot.

Van der Merwe has been in decent form in the domestic One-Day Cup 50-overs competition, and also boasts 13 prior caps for the Proteas in each of the T20 and ODI folds - though his last appearance for his country came in mid-2010.

He also has the edge for swashbuckling ability with the bat, although he retains a penchant for resorting a tad too often to pure slogging, which can lead to his unnecessary demise.

Phangiso, however, has starred for a Lions team that is making fine strides as both a T20 and 50-overs force and few could quibble if he is offered a Proteas debut against the Black Caps.

The only drawback, perhaps, is that all of Peterson, Van der Merwe and Phangiso are left-armers, robbing South Africa of the ability to take the ball “the other way” in the slow-bowling department.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing



Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
LIVE: New Zealand 14-3 Tonga
England World Cup coaches barred
Lancaster comes out guns blazing
11 October 2015
India v South Africa, Kanpur 05:30
14 October 2015
India v South Africa, Indore 10:00
18 October 2015
India v South Africa, Rajkot 10:00
Previous Results

Date Match Result

The whole saga regarding the team selection for the Proteas Cricket World Cup semi-final continues to drag on... and on! Who do you believe?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.