News24

SA T20 selection riddle

2010-03-03 07:57

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Narrowing down South Africa’s provisional, 30-strong ICC World Twenty20 squad to the final 15 this month is going to be a decidedly tricky exercise.

And that is not just because slashing any extended group by exactly half is seldom straightforward anyway.

The process comes at a time when the relative clarity we all had over the Proteas’ best one-day resources a year ago has suddenly become much more blurred after a season of split-personality showings by the national side in the limited-overs arena.

In a nutshell, there are probably far fewer shoo-ins for the trek to the Caribbean in late April than many would like.

When I ran my own finger over the 30 provisional names, I came up with only about eight whom I suspect will definitely travel: seasoned Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis as the already confirmed captain and vice-captain respectively, plus Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn and Roelof van der Merwe.

Even then, some critics might suggest someone like Amla, a sensation of late in Tests, is not ideally suited to the “super-abbreviated” format, although I believe his orthodoxy and ever-increasing general cricketing acumen will give crucial balance and stability to the squad.

Parnell continues to be notably expensive at times, but his wicket-taking ability – not to mention plain, raw talent and endurance -- is not in question and I would think he must still be considered the top candidate for left-arm seam variety ahead of burly “T20 specialist” Yusuf Abdulla and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Both of the last two offer rather less with the bat and as fielders, too.

Van der Merwe? He may just have leapfrogged Johan Botha, based on fortunes in the surrendered ODI series in India, for main spinner’s berth, although more than one exponent of this trade will almost certainly be needed in the West Indies anyway.

In that respect, JP Duminy is a major head-scratcher for the wise men: his off-spin remains a decent feather in his cap, but is he perhaps just too spooked as a batsman at present to be considered a truly viable candidate for the tournament? The next few weeks (read: Indian Premier League) may tell us more.

The quandary certainly doesn’t end there: there’s also the debate about whether both moody but potentially match-winning “blasters”, Herschelle Gibbs and Loots Bosman, can be accommodated in the same team or squad – I’m more inclined to say “aye” for Twenty20 than I am for conventional ODIs.

Then there are also several much-of-a-muchness customers on the bowling all-rounder front, those in the 30 including all of Rusty Theron (often encouragingly unflappable at the “death” in domestic one-day games this summer, it must be said), Ryan McLaren, Vernon Philander, Rory Kleinveldt and Johann van der Wath.

The last-named player is an interesting inclusion in the extended party, along with a fellow former ICL “rebel” in Justin Kemp: they offer bag-loads in the way of experience, not to mention a relish for clubbing the ball high up into the cheap seats.

Or should there be greater emphasis on blooding a few rookies who might amount to handy, mystery packages against South Africa’s foes at the event?

In that respect I enthusiastically greeted the interim call-ups for the Warriors’ Colin Ingram and David Miller of the Dolphins, who could become a real bums-on-seats batsman in one-day cricket like Adrian Kuiper once was, albeit that the 20-year-old is a left-hander.

But wait … there’s more! It’s not even about simply picking the generally “best” 15 from the 30 – horses for courses is an important consideration for any assignment in the West Indies, where many pitches these days seem better suited to hosting wakes than wham-bam T20 cricket contests.

I know Port of Spain gets a wide berth for the tournament, but it arguably still provides a tell-tale clue as to broader Caribbean conditions in 2010, and the T20 international there a few days ago (Zimbabwe 105 all out in 19.5 overs, West Indies a farcical 79 for seven in a full 20 in reply) may be a harbinger of “difficult” pitches for the world jamboree.

The tournament is to be played in a triangle involving Beausejour Stadium, St Lucia, Providence Stadium, Guyana, and the refurbished Kensington Oval in Barbados.

All sport pretty “new” strips but recent one-day records suggest even these aren’t guaranteed to provide blissful “come on” for batsmen and carry and bounce for bowlers.

Seasoned, street-smart players are likelier to prosper, I reckon, but then you also have to ensure your side doesn’t look too Dad’s Army-like in this format, either, don’t you?

Best of luck to the Proteas brains-trust in their complex trimming process, is all I can say …

Sport24

Comments
  • Cricket fan - 2010-03-03 08:13

    Rusty Theron has to be included in the final 15...he has performed too well to be left out. JP Duminy also needs to take some time out and rethink his batting strategy.....there are way too many talented players knocking on that door right now

  • Just Cricket - 2010-03-03 08:34

    My team: Smith, Bosman, Kallis, de Villiers, Gibbs, Boucher, A. Morkel, Botha, van der Merwe, Steyn, Theron. "Reserves": Ingram, Bodi/Rudolph (both left-handers), M. Morkel, du Preez/Kemp. The pitches are slow in the West Indies (Benn opened the bowling the other day and got 5 wickets!), thus we need 2 spinners. No extra keeper as AB can fill in if needed.

  • Mundo - 2010-03-03 08:51

    Amla shouldnt not be in the team. He scores slow.. 20/20 is a quick scoring game.. He will put a lot of pressure on other batsmen to rescue the team. him and Kallis in the same team is not good at all.. Loots "Bazooka" Bosman is a definite.. Quick scoring up front with Biff is a must.. So about Loots lets not debate it.I would rather have Ryan McLaren in the team as oppsosed to Van Der Merwe or Johan Botha.. Van Der Merwe cant bat.. he closes his eyes and looks away when he tries to clear the boundry.. He should nt be picked.Ryan bats very well compared to Van Der "look away and try and hit" and Johan Botha..Thandi Tshabalala is a better spinner in 20/20 than both our spinners..

  • farciclearticle - 2010-03-03 08:53

    The article is a total waste of time because it does not include the most important word in SA: Demography.

  • @the man - 2010-03-03 09:16

    Devilliers out of form? He just hit 2 consecutive 100s , the last at a strike rate of near 200. Clearly you dontknow your ass from your elbow, and try make it race based, grow up little man. Your posts are becoming boring.

  • NeilA - 2010-03-03 09:16

    I would put Bodi in for gibbs, vd merwe must never bat anywhere near the top 6 and im inclined to put kemp in instead of albie( his form has not been great of late). so my team is Bodi bosman smith kallis AB boucher kemp botha vd merwe steyn langevelt/ theron

  • Sir Thabo - 2010-03-03 09:17

    Just Cricket not a bad side i must say. It shows that u put thought in comming up with the starting 11. I would omit Kallis, Gibbs and albie I would go with Miller, Kemp and Levi. Bowlers Theron, Charl in my team Ingram will be part of my setup. I will leave Kallis at home to rest.

  • Fan - 2010-03-03 09:20

    The Man, you have no idea. With a team like that we would be the laughing stock of the world. alot of the players you mentioned are not performing domestically yet you expect them to perform on the international stage. I sense a hidden agenda?????

  • @mundo - 2010-03-03 09:22

    "Amla shouldnt not be in the team." You are basically saying that he should be in the team. 2 negatives make a positive!

  • Grant - 2010-03-03 09:28

    @ THE MAN - What cricket have you been watching chap? De Villiers out of form???? TWO centuries in the last 2 games, and no Kallis? reading your team you are either just a stupid, pot stirring racist - or you have absolutely NO clue about cricket - or both!! I am surprised you never listed yourself in the team you halfwit!

  • proteas for life - 2010-03-03 09:30

    @ the man!! umm... who scored 102 off 59 balls a week ago(AB DE VILLIERS) and 104 off 89(KALLIS) ou and is Loots " THE HAMMER" Bosman.... You play the Black vs White card everytime you comment. I think Loots"THE HAMMER" Bosman deerves a chance at this T20 world cup. My team: Smith, Kallis, Bosman, Rudolph, Boucher, AB Devilliers, Steyn, V/D Merve, Parnell, Ingram, Langeveld. RES: Ginns, Kemp, Botha, A Morkel, Theron.

  • proteas for life - 2010-03-03 09:32

    @ the man!! umm... who scored 102 off 59 balls a week ago(AB DE VILLIERS) and 104 off 89(KALLIS) ou and is Loots " THE HAMMER" Bosman.... You play the Black vs White card everytime you comment. I think Loots"THE HAMMER" Bosman deerves a chance at this T20 world cup. My team: Smith, Kallis, Bosman, Rudolph, Boucher, AB Devilliers, Steyn, V/D Merve, Parnell, Ingram, Langeveld. RES: Ginns, Kemp, Botha, A Morkel, Theron.

  • Mundo - 2010-03-03 09:32

    Boucher should be dropped.. He is deadwood. He wont contribute anythang to our success.. Rather have Colin or/and Dave Miller in the team.. JP must be dropped.. Langeveldt with his swing bowling.. Rusty Theron.. No Van Der Merwe. its gonna be between Morne and Rusty.

  • NeilA @ THE MAN - 2010-03-03 09:32

    Absolutley right and our football team should consist of 1.Os du randt 2. Ollie le roux 3. Bakkies botha 4. Schalk burger 5.Dani rossouw 6. Bismark du plessis 7. Victor Matfield 8. John Smit 9. Fourie du preez 10. Geo cronje 11. THE BEAST. then we will win the football world cup, even with there eyes closed, until this team is chosen Bafana will always wallow at 17474633th in world rankings......

  • Mandla Mhlongo - 2010-03-03 09:36

    Rusty Theron, David Miller & Colin Ingram are a must for me. These guys are really talented. I'm not a Dolphins fan but I love watching Miller especially, he is such a natural striker of the ball, please guys include these 3 & we will win it, Im sure!!!

  • @THE MAN - 2010-03-03 09:37

    Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

  • Legend - 2010-03-03 09:51

    my team: Smith, Kallis, Bouch, AB, A Morkel, Ingram, Miller, Parnell, Gibbs, Bosman, Steyn, R vd Merwe, Theron, M Morkel, Amla

  • Just Cricket - 2010-03-03 10:54

    @AussiesRule. Rather comment on your team that just lost the first ODI against the Black Caps with a massive six!!! Ha ha ha... Let me guess, you are an "undeserving white" making a living in Australia and trying to hide your obvious racist attitude in a foreign country. Learn to spell and construct proper sentences Pampoenkop!

  • Willem - 2010-03-03 11:43

    Smith (c), Kallis, de Villiers, Duminy, Ingram, Boucher, Van der Merwe, M Morkel, Parnell, Steyn, Langeveldt, Theron, Bosman, McLaren, Botha. Any views on that team?

  • Mundo - 2010-03-03 12:40

    @greg.. we talking about T20 not ODI boet.. @ Just Cricket.. Did u read what I said?? Geez u r so quick to jump down my throat.. I said we cant have Kallis and Amla in the same team.. Ryan is a better batsman cause he hits the ball with his eyes open.. He just hasnt played enough internation T20 matches..

  • DougieB@Shabir - 2010-03-03 12:50

    You should be chief of selectors. Absolutely spot on, nuff said.....

  • Etienne - 2010-03-03 12:52

    No matter what we hope for the team will consist of players that have performed/may come of with some luck or players that can score when there is no pressure instead of form players

  • Rob - 2010-03-03 13:07

    Amla deserves every bit of praise he gets. He is going to turn out to be our next captain and the rock in our batting line-up. Having him and Kallis to bat around in the line-up won't be a bad thing with players like smith, de villiers, Gibbs, Bosman, Boucher, Morkel batting around them. Kallis and Amla provide a platform for our bashers to work from. Its not gonna work if we are 60 for 7 and Albie and Boucher are expected to do everything now is it! Play the best players!

  • Greegs - 2010-03-03 13:09

    Smith, Gibbs, Kemp, Morkel, Boucher, de Villiers, Loots, Steyn, vd Merwe, Parnell and Theron..... Can't win this thing unless you have the big hitters upfront....been proven how many times before! Can take Amla and Kallis as reserve openers if you like!

  • 360deg - 2010-03-03 16:33

    What dilemma? It's messed up already, having Boff and Doffer as captain and vice or should i say Tweedledum and Tweedledummer LOL. @Just Cricket u r a w.. anker I hope your team is fielded, so we can get rid of the lot, the chokers, all the dead wood. here's for hoping . The stats will read 14 and 0 yes 14 major tounements and 0 wins, 0 finals. Boucher and co's The Chumpions of Cricket "best" team never to have won anything significant. Now put that in your stupid stats pipe.

  • SOuTH AFRICA - 2010-03-03 16:35

    My team:Smith,Bosman,amla,kallis,ab,gibbs,v/d merwe,botha,steyn,morkel,langeveld.Res as follow:Theron,McLaren,pieterson,Duminy,Parnell,Boucher.This is my team for a start.Duminy must go he is the one taking the main players out with his bowling.

  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-03-03 20:50

    well we can deliberate it all we want on this website......but i doubt the best team will be put on that field at the end of the day!!!!!......anyone, we live in hope so this would be my 11: 1.Morne van Wk 2.Loots Bosman 3.Hashim amla 4.Jacques kallis 5.Ab de villiers 6.herschelle gibbs 7.albie morkel 8.roelof vdM 9.Dale Steyn 10.Morne Morker 11.wayne parnell/rusty theron

  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-03-03 20:56

    oooooppppppssss.....forgot smith, now that is a conundrum and i don't really feel like dropping bosman(from my elite "dream" team), so i'm going to be bold and drop Kallis(for the final).....because although experience is big, big hitters and fast-scoring win the day in this format, so sorry jacque u r incredible but not quite fast enough for 20/20........on current form i would also drop albie morkel....REVISED XI: 1.Graeme Smith 2.Loots Bosman 3.Hashim amla 4.AB de villiers 5.Herschelle Gibbs 6.Morne Van Wyk 7.Justin Kemp 8.roelof van der merwe 9.Dale steyn 10>morne morkel 11.Rusty theron/parnell

  • Harjinder Gill - 2010-03-03 22:09

    Hi guys do not worry about 20-20 cricket ,you know this form of cricket is just for time pass and injustice with talent,so don't be angry over the 20-20 issue.our u-19 cricket team played wonderfully in the world cup 2010 recently.But they lost to S Lanka unfortunately due to spinners web.We always played good cricket but where there is luck we lost that especially in 1992,1996,1999.WC.Who was responsible rain(92),P Adams(96),A Donald(99) thus cricket is unit game,effort.So we still thinking Ntini and Lengeveld for 20/20 this is an injustice with Tsotsobe,Parnell,Theron and the guy who is knocking the door strongly he is C J Devilliers .Ntini is a superb cricketer but Something went wrong with him.WC 2010 (20-20) asking to SA Play with Smith,Kaliis,Amla,A B,Gibbs,Petersen,Merwe,D Steyn,Parnell,Tsotsobe,M Morkel and For change Kemp , Miller Botha,Boucher,.....>Boucher is the keeper But he needs some rest .WE have alot of young guys but they have to wait little more.GooD Luck

  • Harjinder Gill - 2010-03-03 22:10

    Hi guys do not worry about 20-20 cricket ,you know this form of cricket is just for time pass and injustice with talent,so don't be angry over the 20-20 issue.our u-19 cricket team played wonderfully in the world cup 2010 recently.But they lost to S Lanka unfortunately due to spinners web.We always played good cricket but where there is luck we lost that especially in 1992,1996,1999.WC.Who was responsible rain(92),P Adams(96),A Donald(99) thus cricket is unit game,effort.So we still thinking Ntini and Lengeveld for 20/20 this is an injustice with Tsotsobe,Parnell,Theron and the guy who is knocking the door strongly he is C J Devilliers .Ntini is a superb cricketer but Something went wrong with him.WC 2010 (20-20) asking to SA Play with Smith,Kaliis,Amla,A B,Gibbs,Petersen,Merwe,D Steyn,Parnell,Tsotsobe,M Morkel and For change Kemp , Miller Botha,Boucher,.....>Boucher is the keeper But he needs some rest .WE have alot of young guys but they have to wait little more.GooD Luck

  • Just Cricket - 2010-03-04 08:47

    @360deg. W....anker M.....offie, we won one ICC Champions Trophy. Your thick skull forgot that! And stats don't lie, only your one brain cell gemors !!!

  • wayne - 2010-03-04 13:55

    Hashim Amla is the Don. When all the SA batsmen were falling like flies the great Amla was standing making us PROUD.

  • Harjinder GILL - 2010-03-04 23:19

    You are right Willem I respect your idea, but I am very surprised why SA people do not like Herschelle GIBBS .I am INDIAN and cricket fans from all over the world like Gibbs's batting and fielding style.I think HIM in Lara Sachin Ponting Cronje's class. So give him one more year .HE will be a star of the WC 2011 Final I am100% sure.So wait for that and give the moral support to HERSCHELLE GIBBS.GOOD LUCK TO SA cricket To win WC 2011..........

  • Dave - 2010-03-05 03:23

    Without a doubt Hashim has to open for us. Every short game WC tournament we've played, Amla has NOT featured. And we won diddly. These past 2 seasons, Amla has been our knight in shining armour, twice against the pommies, and the aussies, and played the Indians off the park by himself. Even the ODI's against these teams, Amla made some top scores. He has been our gem and master batsman. Who says he cannot prove his prowess in the 20/20 version. After all he has the BEST strike rate and BEST average in ODI's - FACT, better than Smith, Gibbs and AB. I say open him with Smith and then bring on the serious bushwackers(Loots, AB, and the rest). Smith needs to hand the captaincy to Amla and I can assure you - we will win some trophies and get that monkey off our shoulders... ie, CHOKERS

  • Jurgs - 2010-03-05 05:49

    Looking at the domestic Pro20 and the slowness of the pitches in the WI, I think Vaughn van Jaarsveld would do well. He is one of the cleanest hitters against spin we have.

  • Granville - 2010-03-05 13:35

    My team: Smith, Bosman, Amla, Kallis, Gibbs, Duminy, AB, Botha, Parnell, Steyn, Langeveldt Reserves: A Peterson, M Morkel, Theron & M Boucher

  • AFRICA STILE - 2010-03-05 15:21

    360deg,i stand by Just Cricket.you are a as..le.Forget what the Boutcher,Gibbs and players dit to Australia 438 runs.You dof as can bee.And just to end of we will and shal win 2011 WCC.And you can take that to the bank.

  • Just Cricket - 2010-03-05 15:36

    I'm a P-O-E-S!!!!! I'm sorry!!!!

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