Steyn leads pace brigade

2011-02-11 08:46

New Delhi - Batsmen are expected to have a ball on flat sub-continental pitches in the Cricket World Cup - only if allowed by Dale Steyn and other skilful speed merchants.

Pitches may be slow but there is always room for quality pacemen to make a mark, as was proved by Australian Craig McDermott who was the leading bowler with 18 wickets when the Cup was hosted by India and Pakistan in 1987.

South African Steyn, Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga, England's James Anderson, Indian Zaheer Khan and Pakistan's Umar Gul will be the pacemen to watch.

Also hungry for success will be Australian pace duo of Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, who have recently returned to the one-day side after recovering from injuries.

Lee, who missed the last Cup due to an injury, was the second-highest wicket-taker in the 2003 edition in South Africa with 22 scalps, while Tait caught the eye in 2007 with 23 wickets.

Steyn is no stranger to Indian conditions, having given a magnificent exhibition of swing bowling to destroy the hosts for a meagre 76 with a five-wicket haul in the second Test in Ahmedabad in 2008.

Pace, backed by controlled swing, makes Steyn one of the most feared fast bowlers. He has an effective new-ball partner in Morne Morkel, capable of keeping pressure on batsmen.

Steyn recently proved too hot to handle for India in the home series when he was his team's highest wicket-taker in Tests with 21 scalps and the third-highest in one-dayers with eight.

'Slinger' Malinga will be keen to renew his love affair with the World Cup after his impressive exploits in the last edition in the Caribbean which saw him finish among the top-six bowlers with 18 wickets.

The Sri Lankan, known to produce accurate yorkers and excel in death overs, has the ability to do the unexpected.

He made World Cup history last time when he grabbed four wickets off as many balls in a Super Eights clash against South Africa in Guyana to raise prospects of an unlikely win for Sri Lanka, who eventually lost the match by one wicket.

Like Steyn, Anderson also is in form having played a significant role in England's first Ashes triumph in Australia for more than two decades, with 24 wickets in five matches.

England, who have not made it to the semi-finals in the last four editions, expect Anderson to retain his wicket-taking ability. Their pace attack looks effective, especially with Stuart Broad regaining fitness ahead of the event.

Zaheer, known for providing early breakthroughs, was one of the bowling stars on a recent tour of South Africa where he grabbed 10 wickets to help India draw a tough three-Test series and nine scalps in one-dayers.

Gul is expected to be Pakistan's trump card as he can extract bounce even on slow pitches and rattle batsmen with yorkers, which makes him one of the most effective pacemen.

He is also the bowler in form, having recently taken 13 wickets in his team's win in a two-Test series in New Zealand. His best in one-dayers came last year when he rocked England with 6-42 at the Oval.

Gul, the highest wicket-taker in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa with 13 scalps, became the first bowler to grab five wickets in the next edition in England, against New Zealand at the Oval.

"I have really developed my yorker by watching videos of (former Pakistani pacemen) Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. They have really helped me," Gul said after his five-wicket haul.


  • Carel Venter - 2011-02-11 09:30

    He can lead a brigade of the top 5 bowlers in the world, they will still CHOKE!!!

      Heini - 2011-02-11 09:40

      Wow!! Such pleasant words from a SOUTH AFRICAN!!! If you werent intersted in cricket, you would not have opened this article, so have some positive words!! You were probably one of the guys who said the SWC would fail in S.A hey? What a MUPPET!! Go PROTEAS!!!!!

      Johan - 2011-02-11 10:03

      Hey Carel, you are such a Jack A$$ will be the first guy to say I told you so when Greame lifts the cup , and then you will also be the first to say I told you so when they dont make. I support all my teams low or high.

      podgy - 2011-02-11 10:27

      Carel, you may just CHOKE on your words.

      Ben - 2011-02-11 11:19

      You're pathetic and afraid of disappointment... You're a sad sad boy...

      sannahan - 2011-02-11 11:30

      Yes they WILL CHOKE when they read how much you care for the team and players who will represent you. How boring your next 6 weeks will be, seeing that you will do your very best to miss our games.

      tdk25 - 2011-02-11 12:09

      Take your pills and u will be fine

      StaalBurgher - 2011-02-11 15:03

      Don't choke on your boyfriend's lollipop!

  • Thriel - 2011-02-11 10:09

    While i don't fully agree with the squad they have chosen for the world cup i do hope they do well. I think leaving out boucher and albie morkel is a really bad move. boucher has been performing well localy and his experience on international stage wont easily be matched. banning Gibs was also a really bad move. these guys know what it takes to win in such a big tournament. our top order is good, but we have far too long a tail even with the new players. i can understand carel's frustration, there is just to much politics and racism in cricket and the result is that we end up walking away losers.

      lawnservicebobs - 2011-02-11 10:24

      Yeah, it is time to get behind the tea despite its glaring shortcomings. I am in two minds about Boucher, while his experience keeping on the subcontinent is invaluable he has been something of a passenger in the batting lineup. In international cricket your keeper needs to be a good batsman. Looking at the rest of our batting line up though it is a moot point. I also think that Boucher was the cricketing brain behind the three headed captaincy that was Smith/Kallis/Boucher. Smith's captaincy at times during the Indian series was suspect to say the least. He seemed off without the tactical support. It takes a shrewd captain to win a World Cup and I don't think Biff is our man alone out there.

  • Gilgamesh - 2011-02-11 10:09

    Well said Heini, the less 'Carel Venters' on this planet the better.

  • shaunkd - 2011-02-11 11:03

    I would love to see Mark Boucher and AB together on the field with Mark at backward point, to take the "Jonty" role. I think he would revel in the freedom, and AB with the gloves. I believe we still need Mark there for his cool head and wise descisions. It would lengthen our tail.

      quack - 2011-02-11 11:21

      mark out of the squad, isnt he ??

  • Ziddi - 2011-02-11 11:09

    Great to see theres only 1 stinkmouth so far. Lets the rest of us get together and choke him out of this comments page. ALL in support for PROTEAS ...... HERE HERE.... Let us support our team. All the best for the world cup. I support today , tomorrow and forever, regardless of what you bring or do not bring back.

      Will2.0 - 2011-02-11 13:48

      That's the spirit! They're our team no matter what - and what kind of a douchebag doesn't want his team to do well? GO PROTEAS!!!

  • GP - 2011-02-11 11:37

    Latest form tells a story that Steyn is not as potent in ODI anymore. He is ranked 8th after all. Rather have Morne or Tsotsobe since they did well in the middle east and in SA recently. Test and ODI should not be confused as one and the same.

      Mr. B - 2011-02-11 11:52

      GP - not that potent anymore ? Dude, he moved from 18th to 8th and will keep moving up the rankings. Steyn is going to be critical to our cup success, with Morkel and Tsotsobe. If they "do the job" up front and get teams 4 or 5 down early, we will be very difficult to beat.

  • 3b3n22 - 2011-02-11 13:11

    I still dont think Parnell is a good choice..

  • matthews.nicholas - 2011-02-11 15:03

    Go Proteas!! We are all behind you and believe in you!!

  • Willie - 2011-02-11 19:44

    I'm big PROTEA fan and come this WORLD CUP you will see some top speed bowling from the greatest and the back will be supurp with MORKEL and THOTOBE. What the bating concern you will see the WORLD all time best allrounder in perfect form. O! I can help that i'm a PROTEA.

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