Clarke tips Lopsy battle

2011-11-08 15:26

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - The Australians are bracing themselves for a Proteas attack that will include leg-spinner Imran Tahir and left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe in the first Test at Newlands from Wednesday, if Michael Clarke has his intelligence correct.

Sign up for Sport24 promo mailers and win

The Aussie captain said as much at his pre-match press briefing at the rain- and wind-lashed venue on Tuesday.

Local thought has tended to lean toward South Africa indeed handing a Test debut to Tahir, at the expense of incumbent slow bowler Paul Harris, but prolific Cape Cobras wicket-taker Vernon Philander eclipsing Tsotsobe for the position of first-change bowler.

Nevertheless, Clarke believes the lanky left-armer from the Warriors will instead keep his Test place (he turned out the last time the Proteas played a Test, at the same venue against India last season).

“Philander was a good bowler (in the SA ‘A’ game against the Aussies in Potchefstroom) but I don’t think he’ll play. I think they’ll play the three quicks who played the one-dayers (Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Tsotsobe).

“I think they’ll stick with Tsotsobe, who has good control ... but again it’s their choice. We’ve studied all their bowlers.”

Clarke is especially adamant that Tahir will be preferred to Harris if the Proteas, as now anticipated, do only go in with one spinner.

“I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t play, yes. I think on that wicket spin will play a big part; he’s a very good bowler and a wicket-taker.

“On the other side of things they’ve got Paul Harris who has experience and has played against us before. Me as a captain? Who’d I pick? I’d pick Tahir.

“But I’m not the South African captain so I don’t need to worry about that.

“A lot of (the Aussie players) have played against Tahir in county cricket, and a few fortunately also in the warm-up game ahead of the last World Cup - but we’ve looked at a lot of footage too.

“He’s got a handful of variations that he likes to bowl quite often - as I said, he’s an attacking bowler.”

Asked by Sport24 whether he thought the South African speedsters may be short on stamina, given that they haven’t played an extended-format match for several months, Clarke said: “I hope so ... I hope we can bat well enough to find out. That’s more important.

“The better we bat the more it’ll take out of their attack, knowing they haven’t played much five-day cricket.

“It takes it out of all bowlers if you have to, say, bowl for two days in a row, and it certainly does take it out of you as both a bowling and fielding unit if you haven’t played much Test cricket (previously).”


  • Caleb - 2011-11-08 15:42

    Doesn't matter how much you study the comes down to concentration and skill

  • Laurie - 2011-11-08 16:48

    So now we must read who the Ausralians think will be selected to play for SA. What drivel! Can somebody please explain to why - when Australia play England - we have a 5-match series, yet when we play the Aussies we only have a two test scramble? Should one test be drawn, the winner of the other then claims to have won the series. This is mickey-mouse, money making at its best. We then rush into another mini-series against Sri Lanka. Why not get the Poms and the West Indies to fly through for the odd game as well?

  • luke.smit1 - 2011-11-08 17:01

    Love the mind games entered into by Clarke. Genius - Proteas already have so much to think about, now Clarke is giving them selection tips?? Only an Australian!

  • alfie.cable - 2011-11-08 20:03

    Is he a Protea selector ?

  • pages:
  • 1