SA have 'first change' issue

2010-12-21 11:12

Rob Houwing

One of the crucial reasons why South Africa have mostly been at or very near the top of the Test pile since readmission has been their genuine pace “battery”.

That term, of course, implies at least three bowlers in the line-up who can be branded head-hunters; men who keep the heat on batsmen virtually all the time, if you like.

It is a trend pretty proudly rooted since 1992, when Kepler Wessels’ outfit so nearly upset a still-strong West Indies in that poignant, isolation-busting encounter at Bridgetown -- then the South Africans unashamedly fielded a four-pronged speed arsenal of Messrs Donald, Bosch, Pringle and Snell and gave even the fancied likes of Desmond Haynes and Brian Lara many torrid moments.

In the years subsequently, our Test teams have been blessed with similar or sometimes better pace trios or quartets when you consider the availability, depending on time frames, of such additional names as De Villiers, Pollock, Schultz, McMillan, Ntini, Klusener, Hayward, Ngam and now the deadly duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.

The word “duo” has some pertinence at present -- because there is a strong argument for saying that is the extent of the Proteas’ specialist intimidatory cupboard as things stand.

Certainly in statistical terms the only notable weak link in their otherwise clinical, high-intensity dismantling of India in the first Test at Centurion came in the form of their first-change bowler: Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

In conditions that always kept the seamers interested, as they say, the lanky left-armer produced a laboured return of one for 148 from 33 overs, including some first-innings stick while Steyn and Morkel, by stark contrast, were causing all manner of havoc.

Tsotsobe seems an unassuming, industrious fellow with a hunger to learn, and his strides in the South African ODI side should not be in any dispute – he showed decent temperament and mix-it-up ability in the recent series against Pakistan in the UAE.

He will go to the World Cup, and rightly so.

But he averages 84.66 with the ball after three Test matches and is an unusual “third quickie” for South Africa in one glaring respect: he is not actually fast. (Indeed, some wags might argue mischievously that he is the new Nella!)

Or put it this way: it is all too obvious that 128km/h is Tsotsobe’s stock zone in pace terms, with balls above 132km/h more the exception than the norm.

Yes, he had some wretched luck at SuperSport Park at times (though all bowlers do over the course of a five-day contest!) but it was all too apparent that when the Warriors man came on to bowl, India’s finest batsmen viewed him as their opportunity to emerge from the hot-house Steyn and Morkel mostly had them in.

Unless he finds the proverbial extra yard, I cannot see Tsotsobe -- despite the welcome different angle he naturally brings – settling into the Test team for any length of time.

All that might save him for the second encounter in Durban, in fact, is a decision by the wise men not to fiddle at all with a winning combination.

The Proteas must be very careful not to overburden their two runaway best pacemen: Steyn and Morkel accounted for 14 (seven each) of the 20 Indian wickets to fall at Centurion, which tells a tale both of their prowess and a wee -- but mounting -- problem when it comes to the third supposedly shock bowler.

Everyone knows the jobs Paul Harris and veteran Jacques Kallis have as the remaining components of the South African attack, with the former’s, especially, geared toward economy at one end and patient strangulation.

Kallis, meanwhile, remains a very canny partnership-breaker with a knack of still producing occasional bursts of venom when the situation demands them.

But a feeling just does not escape me that the Proteas can do better than Tsotsobe as first change at Test level.

A third provider of at least some element of “grievous bodily harm” is called for.

The confirmation after Monday’s fine triumph that the still-rookie but prodigiously talented Wayne Parnell is in the squad mix for Kingsmead comes as no surprise.

 Warts and all, including some current tinkering with his action, the 21-year-old would provide improved pace if the Proteas plan to turn the screws.

Similarly, it is probably not the worst news in the world that gutsy Friedel de Wet, for all his catalogue of injury woes, appears to be on the bounce-back to a good degree in the SuperSport Series once more ...

Rob is Sport24's chief writer

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


  • biro - 2010-12-21 11:47

    We do not have an abundance of bowling talent at the moment in this country. Wayne Parnell, Ryan McLaren, Albie Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Friedel de Wet... all have been trialled as back-up, but have really struggled to nail a regular spot in the national side. Friedel de Wet suffers from cronic back stress fractures and is 31, which is curtailing his career at the moment - such a pity for he did really well in the England series and looked the goods as an international bowler. Tsotsobe and Parnell are more or less in the same boat, medium left armers who get the occasional swing and movement, but are very inconsistent and lacks that yard of pace to really make an impact... Similarly, Albie and McLaren are bits and pieces players, i.e can bowl a bit and can bat a bit, but are no specialists with either bat nor ball. So who remains?

  • Mazwi - 2010-12-21 12:19

    I'll throw in Craig Alexander for his pace. I dont see anyone esle. CJ de Villiers looks good for the future. This is indicitive of what we have in franchise cricket. We have too many bits & pieces bowlers. Proof, the most successful bowler in the last two years in the SS series in medium pacer, Phiander

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 13:38

      I keep on forgetting about CJ, and had a look at Craig's stats that don't look too bad. I have often wondered why Philander doesn't get picked? Is he slow? And before Ballhead or some other idiot complains about white favourtism, Dillon du Preez also had a huge record but never got picked, there might be other factors that make the selectors think he won't step up.

  • JJSnuffels - 2010-12-21 12:25

    If you do not have the pace, then you need to be very accurate (Pollock, MacGrath). Get Pollock to work with Tsotsobe, Parnell, Albie Morkel and McLaren. Or ask Pollock who the best trainer is if he doesn't want the job himself. Pace isn't everything (although it helps a lot). The balance of our team needs a Craig Matthews or Pollock. A "you miss, I hit" type of bowler. We already have two main wicket takers. Also, we need Duminy for the no.6 spot. He can bat, and his off spinners can cause trouble. In such a scenario Morkel/Steyn are our strike bowlers. Harris + Parnell/Tsotsobe can keep the pressure. And Kallis/Duminy are partnership breakers. That is a good balanced bowling line-up. Plus we can rest Steyn/Morkel more so that they can bowl in bursts, but the 4 other bowlers can take wickets and keep the pressure.

      JJSnuffels - 2010-12-21 12:26

      However, for this to work Parnell/Tsotsobe or whoever the 3rd bowler is needs to be a "you miss, I hit" type of bowler.

      biro - 2010-12-21 12:40

      Interesting comments, however I have to disagree with the role of the 3rd seamer in your argument, with all due respect. Especially, since Paul Harris is supposed to be doing the "holding job" in tests. So why have another "holder"? I don't think, given the talent we have in this country, that having a third strike bowler is too far fetched. A year or so ago, Wayne Parnell really looked like an international star - he was swinging the ball at 140 kph plus ala Steyn. Yes, he did go for a few runs, but wickets are what you are measured with at international cricket and he was doing a sterling job. Then injury struck and he lost his pace and swing and at the moment is struggling with his action - he is too low at the crease, struggles to get over his front knee and doesn't use his support arm enough, thus he sprays his deliveries at the moment, like Mitchell Johnson in Brisbane! SA would do well to get Parnell up to full fitness and sort out his action, for at full tilt he can be really brilliant. He also adds some batting depth at no. 8 in the order and is a better fielder than Lopsy et al.

      JJSnuffels - 2010-12-21 13:19

      Hi Biro, Fair comment. I agree with you that we should get Parnell's fitness up first, and I agree that we need a bit more swing. However, I see the holder more of a pressure bowler as just holding up one end. I am using McGrath as an example because his teams success was build around him and Warne. Even when McGrath was not taking wickets he was putting the batsmen under an enormous amount of pressure. And McGrath was bowling at 128kph avg. And that is what our 3rd seamer should do. He should keep up the pressure first and then just have that one or two balls an over that suddenly swings late or move off the seam. Steyn and Morkel should still be our strikers, but when they are going for a few runs you need someone who can come in and tighten things a little. And you need to do it from both ends of the pitch. Harris and the 3rd seamer should do this. This pressure mentally drains the batsmen. So even if they don't take the wicket, the chances of the strike bowlers or partnership breakers getting him is bigger. A good example is the last test against India. We were batting at over 4 an over. How can the fielding captain build pressure with that? There was no need for taking risks, because the runs was flowing at a steady pace. So when a ball was bowled outside off-stump with the risk of nipping away, there was no need to chase it. The batsmen could pick which balls to hit or leave. Imagine the same situation, but batting at 2 an over.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 13:40

      Even McGrath was 134-136 most of the time. Pollock was high 130s at the start of his career and only dropped to low 130s at the end. And Parnell can bowl fast, 140+. Not sure where this idea comes from that he is the same pace as Tsotsobe.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 13:49

      @biro, ah yes the injury might have confused people that he was infact a pacey bowler.

      biro - 2010-12-21 13:59

      Hi JJ, Again, you make a compelling argument and to a point I agree with you. However, if you can recall, McGrath and Polly in their pump used to be lively. I can still recall a "green" Shaun Pollock giving the "experienced" Mike Atherton a torrid time in Durban in his debut season with his fast, short pitch bowling in 1995/6. Both McGrath and Pollock adapted their bowling actions to cater for their lack of pace as "old-age" kicked in and needless to say they perfected the back-of-a-length line. These are once-in-a-generation players and we will be blessed if we see such talent in the next 10 years again. Like, I've said, I agree that such a bowler will be a real plus to the SA bowling attack, however, I just don't see it happening, unfortunately. In Tsotsobe, Albie and McLaren I do not see a Polly or McGrath and hence, in my view, they would be better off adding that extra 5 - 10 kph and work on their swing/seam. Also, having only 2 genuine wicket takers in your arsenal will, in the long-run, be detrimental to the team, don't you think? What if one get's injured? Who will take the wickets? Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis et al won't run through a top order; so I only see one real solution - we need to get Parnell up to full fitness and get him bowling at 140 again, irrespective if he gets knocked around, he is the future and is a wicket taker. Friedel de Wet is also a good alternative and wicket taker, but he looks like he struggles to last 5 days!

      JJSnuffels - 2010-12-21 15:31

      Biro, fair points. And I agree with you that if we cannot have another Pollock I would prefer a swing bowler clocking 140+.

      Mr. B - 2010-12-22 09:55

      Here's another thought to add to some great comment in this particular post, well done guys, at last some comments that have been thought through. With Kallis in the attack bowling a heavy ball, why not look at another spin option ? Imraan Tahir (Dolphins) is pure QUALITY. Once he is naturalised, I'd have him Proteas colours faster than you can say "selection committee". Then you have Steyn, Morkel, Kallis at first drop and then the spin twins to bowl long spells. What we do need though is cover for if a Steyn or Morkel break down, which invariably will happen at some stage in their careers.

      naphy - 2010-12-22 17:13

      Uhm I see a lot of "Pollock AND MacGrath" here so it might be worth pointing out that Tsotsobe may not be a Pollock or MacGrath but Pollock was no MacGrath either... just sayin'.

      JJSnuffels - 2010-12-22 20:30

      Hi Naphy, His avg was 23 at an economy of 2.39. The stats if you don't believe me: I believe this is a very good avg for someone who played 108 tests. If we can have that for our 3rd bowler we would be sorted. Mr B. Not sure about a second spinner for SA pitches. On the subcontinent it would work but on our mamba pitches I (personally) would prefer a tight bowler.

  • sannahan - 2010-12-21 12:36

    I really hope that Parnell will start delivering the goods consistently. Pity about De Wet, but if he can deliver the goods at 31, why not? He kept the English busy and can still do it if his fitness is sorted out. We are really a bit thin. I do hope that Corry van Zyl's Academy will help us to get the solution because we need someone to keep going at the batsmen's throats and not bark from behind a fence. Btw, till when will we be satisfied with Harris's spin-bowling? Is he really better than Botha and what about Tahir?

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 13:41

      de Wet though seems to have chronic back problems. I would be wary to select him again in a Test match. I'd rather select a player that can stick around for a few years instead of "filling in".

  • Lunga - 2010-12-21 12:52

    My view is that Makhaya was put of the side a bit too early.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 13:47

      Really? Ntini was already 32 when he played his last in Durban against the English. That is the age fast bowlers retire 99% of the time. Before that Test series he couldn't buy a wicket in the SS and in his last 6 Test matches averaged 57 at a 101 strike rate. When he went to country cricket he was pretty anonymous, or I assume so since we did not hear a peep until he announced his retirement. If anything he should've been dropped before the England series in 2009. So overall, his career ended at pretty much the right time.

      Mad Hatter - 2010-12-21 14:11

      I think he would have stayed on a bit longer if he developed a quality slow ball or something new to throw at batsmen . All in all , still a stellar career and still the only South African to get 10 test wickets at Lord's ....... special day.

      Mr. B - 2010-12-22 09:59

      Lunga, I think they got Ntini spot on mate. he had an awesome career, and what you don't want, is to tarnish his memory in the Proteas cap, as one of our best bowlers ever, by keeping hime there for too long, and basically reducing him to a batters "bunny". Makka lost a lot of pace, and he didn't have the guile to protect himself. His stock short of a length stuff with no pace, would have lead to him getting punished against a good batting line up.

  • thenjdk - 2010-12-21 13:19

    frankly at 128 average speed he is still faster than any of the Indian attack.

  • StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 13:32

    Pace, pace, pace. 125 kph is just not good enough. I never liked Nel either because he was just too slow. Parnell needs to be brought in.

  • JJSnuffels - 2010-12-21 14:05

    Hi Staal, to be honest I haven't seen much of him (Parnell) lately, and I heard he is struggling with speed after his injury. McGrath/Pollock's speed varied depending on the type of pitch they played. You are quite right that they hit the high 130s in the earlier parts of their careers and on faster pitches. They both dropped below the 130 mark in the later part of their careers on slower pitches and my point is that they could build pressure even in these situations. This pressure helped the bowlers around them (when they were not taking the wickets of course). I think Parnell is the perfect fit for this role. Plus he can bat a little. If he have to drop his speed a little to do this it is fine by me. He has the ability to swing the ball to keep the batsmen guessing. We have the talent, we just have to work with it and shape it a little.

      Mr. B - 2010-12-22 10:08

      JJ, Polly was a LOT quicker than 130's at the start of his career. A lot. I played cricket with him quite a bit before his provincial and International career and believe me he was rapid. I think he just worked it out that if you are blindingly fast, and able to bowl a leg cutter that is like an express leggy, there are too few batters on the planet that will be able to get an edge. His skill was knowing how to get people out, different batters have different flaws, and he had the intelligence to figure this out. If it was all about raw pace, someone like Brett Schultz would have had a lot more scalps, as would a Shoaib Akthar. its more about control, and knowing how to work a batter out. Morkel and Steyn are blessed with the fact that they have other attributes besides raw pace. Steyn moves the ball late and Morkel is a modern day Curtley Ambrose, able to get the ball up your nose off a length. If they were both just pure pace, they would get lots of tap. Look at someone like Steve Harmisson, lightning quick, but would battle to hit a barn door with a shotgun, because of control issues.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-22 14:04

      Brett Schultz would most certainly have had more scalp if his knees hadn't been so dodgy. His wickets came from a combination of left-arm angle and extreme pace.

  • StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 14:49

    Since there are a number of peopl commenting here... has anyone seen this kid Shaun von Berg bowl? Left-arm legbreak, decent stats for Titans. Only 24-25 years of age.

      JJSnuffels - 2010-12-21 15:35

      No, where can I see his stats?

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 15:50

      Cricinfo works a charm. Average of 25.5 and strike rate of 43.3 is pretty good. Still early days and some of those matches might be from a lower division such as the 3-Day competition. Not entirely sure how they put it together. He did get 6 wickets (2 in 1st Inn and 4 in the 2nd Inn) this last week against the Lions I think.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-21 15:57

      I might be wrong about the left-arm.

      JJSnuffels - 2010-12-21 16:19

      You are correct that it is early days for him, but it looks promising. They should ensure he gets proper coaching and play him in the South Africa A team.

      J.J - 2010-12-21 17:36

      I've been following his progress for some time. He looks like a prospect, just don't know if we have the coaching staff to help a talented young spinner like him along. If Tahir can't\doesn't play for S.A i would like to see him as a spin option in a few years. Has anybody heard about a young left arm spinner called Dale Deep? 50+ wickets in 14 matches at a average of 23.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-22 14:11

      It would be a shock that Cricket SA or at least in conjunction with a franchise sort out adequate coaching. South Africa has had a long term problem with spin and surely they would've identified its development as a strategic objective for our country? I've seen Deeb's name but never had a look at his stats. Left-arm orthodox... does he get more spin/bounce than Harris?

  • myjdjames - 2010-12-21 15:47

    You mentioned Ngam but i dont think he is worthy of being listed alongside the others. Mbhalati is decent but by no means express, the cupboard does look a bit bare.

      Mr. B - 2010-12-22 10:11

      Jeremiser, Ngam was awesome but battled with stress fractures. What we need to do is make sure these rare talents are looked after (diet, training etc) from a very early age, hence the need for 'scouts" to be out at high schools to catch them early. Mbhalati is a bit over the hill, would have been great four years ago.

  • naphy - 2010-12-21 22:12

    Here's the thing Rob. Why does Tsotsobe HAVE to be the third/"change" bowler? For me, he deserves a fair run, say 8 straight matches perhaps, simply because he got there by being the most consistent and highest wicket taking seamer in the Supersport series over the last 3 years or so. He's earned it. But here's what beats me. We all know he's a "new ball" bowler right?! Everybody knows he's more efficient with the new cherry. Everybody also knows Morne Morkel has trouble controling the new ball. Why is there a hierachy to having the new ball as if it's something you have to earn? To my mind Morkel doesn't need the new ball, his style doesn't depend on it. He can be just as good and take just as many wickets without it. Tsotsobe is a different story. He's more comfortable with it. Why do we have to have this sense of "best new ball partnership"? What does that even mean? What does it get us? We had AD & SP, SP & MN, MN & DS... all were "best new ball partnerships", none got us the results we really wanted. Why fall into the same sense of false security? Having the world's best new ball partenership means absolutely NOTHING!!!! So I say give the new ball to whomever the conditions suit best. If it's realy swinging give it to Steyn & Kallis. In the Sub-continent give it to Morkel. At home give it to Lopsy, Morkel doesn't need it here. One dimensional, predictable.... that's why we flirt with top rankings but never actually stay there, because we're so damn easy to predict!

      Rockford - 2010-12-21 23:51

      Nappy -On a wicket that was most helpful to fast bowlers, a wicket that always had something for the quick men, a wicket that got faster every day Tsotsobe could only muster an ave.speed of 125km/h and take 1 wicket and be the most expensive SA bowler out there. He could build no pressure, was as intimidating as a 2yr old and hardly got any bounce that rattled any Indian )not even on day 1 when the that track was at its best and India could only get 136 on the board. By contrast the 2 REAL bowlers each got 8 wickets in the match, were intimidating, fast and bouncy always. Now u want to give this BEE appointed "strike" bowler not only to play for 8 straight games but also open the bowling since Morkel is to (according too u) "1-dimensional, predictable" Yes I guess the Indians would have liked to face the "unpredictable","super fast" , "intimidating"Tsotsobe at Centurian as the opening bowler-maybe they could then have won the test. Tsotsobe has been found out as out of his depth at international test level - he is too slow, has no swing, bounce or consistancy (could not be a Polly or a Mcgrath - not even close). He is not going to get many pitches more helpful than the 1 he just got 1 wicket on - how much help does he need?? 8 Matches with this "clydesdale" when we need full blooded arabian- Parnell is about the best we can do - pacey, swings the ball and will surely be a much more intimidating presence than Slowcoach Tsotsobe- and dont change our opening bowlers moron!!

      rufus - 2010-12-22 08:22

      naphy - you are right. lopsy is better with the new ball. that is not in dispute. however, this comment that "everybody also knows Morne Morkel has trouble controling the new ball" makes no sense. who is this everybody? to me and many other people, he did a pretty damn good job in both innings in the first test. sure, he took a bit of time to find his radar in test cricket, but then so did donald. the evidence to me is categorical - he is not only fantastic with the new ball in his own right, but provides an excellent foil for steyn at the other end. he, will only get better. i can't see lopsy being more effective than morkel with the new ball, even if morkel is more effective than lopsy with an older one, and lopsy is bettewith a new ball than an old one. the new ball is precious. we need to get the most out of the new ball, and right now morkel and steyn are the best bet by some distance. i would beg to differ - i think donald, pollock, ntini and steyn, in their various combinations, got us plenty of results. false security? what do you mean? the best new ball partnership meant an innings defeat fro india, so i suspect you're wrong on that one. look, i like tsotsobe. he's been great in odis lately, but there is some work to do in tests. right now, there really is little to argue in favour of giving the new ball to him over morkel.

      Azurite - 2010-12-22 08:45

      nappy. Again you are so confused. Simply put: new ball = hard, new ball bounces more, Morkel = tall, Morkel gets more bounce. Tsotsobe = short, Tsotsobe relies on swing not bounce. SA wickets = bounce nor swing. Morkel = opening bowler for SA. Tsotsobe = not ready yet.

      Rajty - 2010-12-22 08:50

      Hold your horses Rockford- the guy did earn his place didn't he. Why do you imply that he is there because of his skin colour. Do you not think that if he was the highest wicket taking bowlewr in the SS series, for a consisyent period that merits an opportunity. If that doesn't what does. So I suggest you put your racist tendencies to bed once and for all! And you compare him to Polly or McGrath- go look at McGrath's early career stats and you'll be in for a surprise. Things don't change in SA- the black guy fails once and he is ousted- the white guy gets given chance after chance ( AB is a good example). parnell over the last few months had shown such poor form I will be surprised if he has the confidence to take the attack to the Indians.

      naphy - 2010-12-22 12:06

      Rockford: 1) Go look at the Supersport series stats for the past 3 years and tell me who deserves to be there more. The BEE jibe was just ignorance. 2) Show me where I stated that Morne Morkel is one dimensional. 3) How do you get found out after 3 Test matches? AB, Morne, they had miserable starts to their Test careers too... What do they have that Lopsy doesn't that qualifies or makes them worthy of being "stuck" with? What is the difference? Rufus: Okay I made a big generalization on "everybody". Morkel bowled brilliantly, he's been for a while I'm not knocking him at all. What I'm saying is, you try to be as affecient as you can in everything. Like I stated before Morkel for me wouldn't be affected at all by not having the new ball. You get Steyn and Lopsy (more comfortable with it) up front, I don't think you lose much. You then get Morne as a change up to keep the pressure on... you gain a lot more. You reckon new ball partnerships got us plenty of good results I reckon they grossly underachieved. That's just you and that's just me i don't see the point of beaming about new ball duos while failing to win games you should, floating in NO.2 ranking and failing to dominate world cricket when everything stacked for you to do just that. Azurite:.... no you're not worth it... Rajty: You said it.. been saying it for years. Some players it seems are there on some divine right and others it seems are there as some forced privilledge, even when they deserve to be there.

      rufus - 2010-12-22 12:24

      it would make more sense to me either to give lopsy a fair run as third seamer or get parnell in there to replace lopsy. either of these options to me seems more sensible than denying morkel the new ball. more generally, i think parnell has more to offer. ok, he has come off an injury and still finding his groove. still, surely he cannot perform worse than lopsy did in pretoria. i see a lot more potential in parnell as a test bowler than in tsotsobe. he's quicker, and can swing it more consistently. he can also bat. for my money - lopsy out, parnell in.

      naphy - 2010-12-22 13:09

      Rufus: I'd have no problem with Parnell coming in either. I'd just like to see anyone who has earned his place get a fair go at it. Don't mind Parnell but I want to see Lopsy being rewarded for being the best in the domestic game for a long period of time. AB got a run of 23 matches without a hundred. Morkel was just diabolical in many, many games, I mean 100 wickets in 29 Tests isn't exactly clever is it? He's earned it so give it to him, that's all I'm saying. If he fails so be it but they should be fair to him, as they were to the others. If the new ball can help somebody else more than it helps Morkel then why wouldn't you take it off his hand? Just seems way too rigid to me that Morkel should have the new ball for the sake of having the new ball. Whether it's Tsotsobe or Parnell I'd give it to them cos I don't think Morkel needs it. Sure it would be nice... but i reckon Parnell and Lopsy need it more...

      Azurite - 2010-12-22 13:42

      Shame nappy, you knowledge of cricket so caught out that you cannot reply! Ha ha ha ha!!!

      Rockford - 2010-12-22 14:02

      Nappy ... I cannot but shake my head at the nonsense u have come up with. "Morkel doesnt need the new ball ..." What utter rubbish ... it is not what Morkel needs as much as it is what the team needs - and that is a STRIKE bowler up front that can make BEST use of the new ball ... take wickets, intimidate, build pressure. These things Tsotsobe doesnt have in his arsenal ... not by a long shot!!! Yes he took many wickets domestically but domestic cricket is a far cry from international tests. AB and Morkel had great (raw initially) potential and they have shown it from the start ... u could see it would only be a matter of time b4 they became world beaters. But can we honestly say that of Tsotsobe? I dont knock him as a ODI bowler ... but I have seen nothing that makes me sit up and get excited when he gets the ball in hand to bowl. When AB came on the scene he showed from game 1 that this was a player of the future ... same with Morkel and Steyn and Kallis and Amla ... Tsotsobe will not get a friendlier pitch to bowl on to get wickets and he failed miserably ... Parnell has much more to offer than this guy even if he is just back from injury ...

      Rockford - 2010-12-22 14:06

      Ratty ... mate ... you are probably a BEE appointee since u r so sensitive to the term. Tsotsobe is supposed to be the new Ntini ... we have to force a black player into this team somehow no matter who has to stand back and how the team is harmed since better players have to do extra so we can win or be competitive. I do not believe Tsotsobe is good enough for international cricket unless he can find an extra 5-7km/h somewhere. And my opinion about this has nothing to with his skin color ... just facing the facts. Albie Morkel is not a player of international standard either and I cannot understand why he gets picked - eventhough he makes lots of runs domestically and even takes wickets. So take your accusations somewhere else ... numbskull!!

      Rajty - 2010-12-23 08:20

      Hey Rockford- it's Rajty not Ratty- I'm supposed to be the BEE "appointee" but it seems you're the one with the sub-standard education. You say it's not about race but you attack Tsotsobe on the basis of his racial inclusion. You're a contradiction. And it seems this racially impreganted subconscience drives all your assessments. Nobody is claiming that Tsotsobe have a stella game but since we are so on-top of India it would be fair to give Tsotsobe a reasonable chance to settle in a find his feet. Surely there isn't a better opportunity than now- but you probably don't understand that because you apply different rules when it comes to blacks. Tsotsobe did earn his place with a consistent and superior domestic performance. Yet you will favour lesser white players, and cast him out after one game. This is the double standard I keep talking about. You're a biggot and you don't even know it. And call yourself a numbskull -twit who can't spell.

  • jeanmikecurry - 2010-12-22 03:24

    I'm still intrigued that Vernon Philander doesn't ever get a mention. He has done very well in franchise cricket for the last 3 years and has a good first class average and strike rate. Also he can bat a bit.

  • Rajty - 2010-12-22 08:44

    I recall a certain Mohammed asif who had a bowling speed of 128 ish. But the damage that he did was unbelievable. tsotsobe will need time to learn thwe art of bowling, particularly to some of the best batters in history. Lets not be unreasonable with our expectations- he certainly troubled the batters in the one- day games. He needs time. But I agree- wring Parnell in and let the 2 of them compete. I don't rate McLaren though.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-22 14:23

      The thing is McLaren is what he is already nearly 28. He is not likely to improve and become a world beater. He could be a consistent, reliable support bowler for our strikers. Now obviously, we would prefer a 3rd strike bowler instead of a reliable support bowler. Lopsy... strike bowler? He is practically 27 years old and has the EXACT SAME STATS AS McLaren, except McLaren can bat. Maybe Lopsy can improve, but I have serious trouble seeing it and if he can why can't McLaren - AND HE BATS. What are the exact reasons Lopsy is "potential" that is better than McLaren? I just don't see what people think is so great. He is too slow. Parnell is a much likelier option if you want another attacking bowler.

  • Mr. B - 2010-12-22 09:50

    Mid 120's was where Polly spent the majority of his test career bowling at. After the series vs. England where he basically lobotomised Atherton he hit him in the head so many times his pace dropped markedly due to an ankle op. Tsotsobe will improve, what he needs to do is bowl some overs, actually lots of them, and be given a specific game plan. He needs to fulfil the role a Craig Matthews did with such applomb years ago, bowl over the wicket, take it across the right handers and starve the opposition into mistakes. He needs to be going for 2.5 an over not 4.5 an over, but any bowler is going to be targeted after the batters have just been demolished by Steyn and Morkel.

  • Darwinia - 2010-12-22 11:23

    Parnell must be the answer to the third seamer question. For me he is the most talented and long term option. Tsotsobe needs to find variety or swing if he wants to stay in the team. Those are skills that must be developed and hopefully he can do so.

      Rajty - 2010-12-22 11:31

      With parnells current poor form-I don't think so.

      Azurite - 2010-12-22 13:43

      Good analyses Dar, I agree that Lopsy is not cutting it at Test Cricket level at the moment.

  • Ricky - 2010-12-22 12:14

    Yes Rob, SA has got a first change issue at the moment. Now chillax and see how it pans out. Maybe Lopsy will be the solution, maybe not. People all getting into a huff and puff after only a very few test matches with the current SA bowling attack. This is really just mental masturbation with very limited data. But I guess people need to keep their minds busy with what they can get ... LOL.

  • Mish - 2010-12-22 13:10

    Hi guys. Was browsing through some of the comments etc. I do agree that pace seems to be an issue with alot of our fringe and upcoming players. My point is if we compare our bowlers (except steyn/morkel) to the Australian pace bowlers, they seem to be 10km faster than our bowlers. They have numerous bowlers that can bowl at least 145km. I know they currently struggling to take wickets at home and line/length are also mportant to consider. But with regards to raw pace, why cant our bowlers also bowl at that speed, is there something worng with coaching along the way or what?

      naphy - 2010-12-22 13:53

      Can't help you with why they can't bowl at 145km Mish but why do they have to? Morkel has always bowled at that pace, he's also been rubbish for most of his career too. (Morkel fans pls note I stated "most" we all know he's good now so pleeaaase..) Asif is the second best bowler on planet earth and I often see him struggling to touch 130km... He doesn't even try to... We have what we have. Parnell and Tsotsobe are deceptive bowlers not speech merchants, the worst thing we can do is ask them to be what they are not.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-22 14:33

      Potential over coaching. I read a very interesting article a few years ago that stated the best pace bowlers come outside the metropolitan school areas - usually. Those kids develop their own styles which allows them to maintain their pace, whereas kids that are coached to much at a young age lose the pace. Can't vouch for how correct all that is, but it made for interesting reading.

  • cstafford007 - 2010-12-22 16:58

    never mind the 3rd seamer, steyn and morkel are good enough... rather pick Imran Tahir as the 2nd spinner, when he's available. He's much better than Lobbo or Parnell...

  • Happybloke - 2010-12-23 08:57

    It is not pace that win anything it is the following, a good line , lenght, mixed with a pace around the 140 and a great slow bowl now and then and then a bowler needs to bowl in partnerships, that,s all Happybloke

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