Abbott to enter series in PE?

2016-10-06 14:30
Kyle Abbott (Gallo)

Cape Town – Serious consideration should be given by the Proteas to employing Kyle Abbott, the only unused seamer in their squad, in the fourth one-day international against Australia at St George’s Park on Sunday.

The series is already safe at 3-0, and Abbott would not weaken the side if he was infused even as they attempt to stay sufficiently focused to earn an historic first-time clean sweep between the two nations in the remaining combat at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

It makes some sense for South Africa to rest – perhaps for a match each? -- either or both of their main specialist fast bowlers, Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, in what is left of the series.

Neither has been at his best up to now, a situation that culminated in the pair recording their respective worst analyses in ODIs for a full 10-over stint despite the thrilling victory at Kingsmead on Wednesday.

Steyn leaked 96 runs to “eclipse” Wayne Parnell (10-0-95-2 against India in Gwalior) for most expensive figures by a South African in the 50-overs arena, whilst the much younger Rabada conceded 86 from his own maximum allotment.

The Phalaborwa Express, who has otherwise made a very stirring comeback at Test level thus far in the season, has been thumped for 198 runs (five wickets) from 27 overs in the ODI series, for an economy rate of 7.33, and Rabada (3/180 from 27 overs, economy 6.66) is also suffering, admittedly on pitches that have largely been belters.

Both men need to be well rested and in good mental fettle for the key three-Test series against the Baggy Greens on their own terrain in November, and with Steyn still giving the impression that he is nursing his right shoulder a bit, withdrawal for the remainder of this limited-overs series wouldn’t be the worst step in the world.

That is where the often notably disciplined seamer Abbott comes into the picture, particularly as he might well earn a further opportunity to bring some calm to the “death overs” environment in the PE clash.

The only drawback to the 29-year-old’s possible selection, perhaps, is that he has had no competitive cricket for around two months, after a mid-summer English county stint with Worcestershire.

But he is a seasoned enough campaigner to be able to slot back in smoothly to a Proteas role nevertheless.

In his last ODI appearance at St George’s Park, in February, he knocked over all of the England top three in recording figures of 3/58.

Despite the attractiveness of Abbott’s credentials for Sunday – squad seam stocks have been limited by the withdrawals of Chris Morris and Parnell – the Proteas may also mull over fielding an extra spinner at St George’s Park, or even challenging one of Tabraiz Shamsi or Aaron Phangiso to take over the exemplary “middle overs” duty from veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir with a view to the future.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  kyle abbott  |  cricket

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