My Proteas Test XI
Gary Kirsten (Gallo Images)
I myself have played cricket through this era and probably have watched each and every one of the Protea tests since readmission.
I must say the side selected looks good with a pace attack that would most likely scare the ….. out of any test XI.
However I think when selecting a side like this you need to consider what personal you want against the greats of the opposition over the same period. Also perhaps a squad needs to be considered and not just a top XI. Different conditions could call for different personal. Off course balance is also very important. Another thing never to be over looked is an individual’s ability to fight, to stand up when the chips are down some-one who never gives in. Those who mere presence on the field make the opposition think. Three names not in your top XI immediately jump to mind – Keppler Wessels ; Brian Mc Millan and off course the big mouth of Pat Simcox. I would want these 3 around for reasons other than their batting or bowling abilities.
So in saying this a few other things need to be considered –
With a pace attack including Donald, Steyn, Pollock and off course Kallis at age 30 the only time you ever going to need a spin option is when another great or two gets themselves in and are scoring freely. At this point do you want your spin option to attack or do a holding job?
Adams at his very best was never capable of doing a holding job. It was always to easy for a good player to sit back and just wait for the bad delivery. Normally 2 an over came their way without them ever having to look to attack. So Adams as a spin option is only my choice on a track that is really offering assistance to the spinners. In this type of situation you may then even want a second spinner to turn to. So perhaps the first choice spinner should be someone doing a holding job with Adams in the squad to be used on tracks that offer assistance. Problem is in saying this no name comes to mind over the last 20 years. Maybe a Pat Simcox (big Maybe).
On most tracks against most opposition however I think trust would be placed in the pace attack shown to take 20 wickets in a match. This off –course would open the door for a Brian McMillian to act as a back-up bowler. To back this up I would like to put Adams against - lets say Australian. Australia’s team would for this same period would certainly include Waugh, Ponting, Clark, Hussey and Gilcrest to name but a few of the top order. All these players have always tried to attack the spin options so as to put pressure on the position. I think Adams would take an absolute hiding against this line up on any track and would therefore never get more than 10 overs in a match.
That brings me to my second problem – Daryll Cullinan – I must he has been one of the greats for SA since readmission. One of the greats of all time? No chance. Yes Warne was a big problem to him, but he also battled against most quality spinners on most surfaces. For this reason I would never consider him.
Prehaps with a top 4 like you mentioned you want someone of real quality to come in at and play freely putting pressure on the opposition. The obvious choice for this would be Herschelle Gibbs. He could conformably do the sort of job Clark does for Aus – come in and really take the attack to the opposition. In this sort of situation I think he would also be way more likely to score a 200 off 200 balls than Daryll would. Sorry Daryll - Herschelle before you all day every day.
My third change is currently a contentious issue so I am sure it may not meet with much approval, but anyway here goes. De Villiers as my Keeper ?. This adds a sort look off invincibility to the batting line-up. Think about it – Gilcrest was a batter turned keeper and he ended as one of the greats of all time. During his era, Australia were un –beatable and his ability with the bat at seven had no small part to play in this. Five wickets down. Dam! Here comes Gilcrest.
This opens up the side for another bats man – Perhaps someone with the fight in him of Kepler. This will add add stability if the top order failed or he can be there to see of the second new ball. Same sort of job Hussey has been doing for Aus.
My team –
On Turning wickets –
Adams to replace Mc Millan
Prehaps Simcox in for one of the quick’s – give the one who needs it most a rest.
Give me this 13 against any side from the same era and I think the Proteas will still be ranked No1.
Off – Course this is my opinion and I guess many people will have a case to play many other players – But hey- If I were a betting man – this is the side I would put money on