Smith backs Ntini

2009-12-23 16:51

Durban - Newcomer Friedel de Wet is likely step down if South Africa's premier bowler Dale Steyn is declared fit to play in the second Castle Lager Test against England starting at Kingsmead on Saturday.

Proteas captain Graeme Smith said he did not think there would be too much question about who would bowl if Steyn is fit.

"The three guys who've had the job over the last period of time have been very successful," Smith said.

"Makhaya (Ntini) brings a lot of experience to our attack. He maybe didn't bowl as well as he would have liked in Centurion (in the first Test), but he's a guy that I certainly support, and he's been integral throughout my captaincy, so I really back him to come through in this Test match and to bowl well.

"Morne (Morkel) offers you some variety in the attack with his pace and bounce, and it was great to see Friedel perform well (on debut in Centurion), but if Dale is fit, I think it will be a straight swap."

De Wet took three wickets in the space of six overs on Sunday afternoon to take South Africa very close to a thrilling victory in the first Test, which ended in a draw.

Smith said Steyn had been making good progress and had done some bowling in Cape Town, and he hoped a decision could be made on his availability by the night before the Test started.

The skipper added that all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who is recovering from a fractured rib, was also making good progress, but it was not yet clear how much he would bowl in the second Test.

"I would be a little conservative," Smith said. "Obviously to have him bowl at some stage would be great - it allows us some variety and some more options with the attack.

"But it would be nice to see him progress through the week, and we hope to have a final decision the night before the Test match."

He said he would not be surprised if England named the same XI for the second Test.

"England seem to be sticking to the six batsman route," he said.

"I think, for them, it's a slightly more conservative outlook. They probably feel, after their middle order were troubled in both innings (in Centurion), that they need to have the extra batting available.

"But if we could get some early wickets up front, we'd like to expose that middle order."

Smith also said he was not too concerned about the England bowling attack.

"They've got some quality bowlers around, who've performed well over time," he said, "but in the Test matches we played in England last year, we played very well against their attack.

"We managed to post some very good totals at Headingley, we batted out two to three days at Lords, and in the fourth innings we chased a very good total at Edgbaston.

"So we've had some success against their attack and we batted well on a wicket that did a lot with the new ball in Centurion. The batting unit -especially the top six - has performed well against England over the past two years, and we'd like to carry that on."

Smith said the second Test in Durban offered new challenges for both teams.

"We would like to be the team that adapts best and be stronger than England in the first three days.

"At this time of year, the humidity is always a massive issue, and the overhead conditions. There has been a lot of rain around Durban, so how you look after the ball here is obviously crucial."

The skipper said he was not concerned that England would be targeting him with the new ball.

"Since I've taken over at 22 years of age, I've had to get used to that," he said.

"As a player, handling the captaincy and being a top-order batsman, going into a big series and being targeted, it's something I've dealt with and have been able to thrive on during my career. So I'm excited to have the opportunity to do that in this series."


  • George - 2009-12-23 16:57

    Poor decision, Ntini is over the hill and De Wet did much better than Ntini in the last test. Ntini is one of most expensive bowlers South Africa furnished in test cricket in both runs per over as well as Runs per wicket so what is he point of having him in.

  • Houston - 2009-12-23 17:03

    Great, he brings experience, but he is not bringing wickets, thats the problem. But ok, whoever bowls, good luck and take plenty of pommy wickets, we're behind you boys!!

  • Donovan - 2009-12-23 17:24

    The so called new comer bowled with tons more experience than Ntini. He was on the money and should have bowled the last over.

  • JLC - 2009-12-23 17:27

    Don't Ntini is as good as he used to be, but I hope he proves me wrong. Go boys, let those pommies eat of the floor.

  • charles - 2009-12-23 17:33

    @George,l wouldn't say poor decision,De Wet did well but that is not a guarantee,that he will repeat that.Of course Ntini is not firing to his maximum.But why are the poms so vocal about Ntini being omitted,shouldn't they be encouraging him to play since he is the weakest link? l hope he ripes them apart in Durban.

  • marco - 2009-12-23 17:39

    Experience don't win you games but taking 20 wickets does.Drop Ntini for the next 3 games in the series is not only the right to do but its makes common sense.Playing him makes no sense at all.Friedel DeWet proved himself not only fit but well and truly able to replace Ntini.Its the right and obvious decision for Greame Smith and Mickey Athur to make.Friedel can contribute with bat as well as was case in his first innings at centurion.Morne Morkel has questions hanging over his head regarding(no balls etc) but he does add a little bit more pace to the side with his bouncers he balls 'cause he's a very tall fella(6ft 8inches) which makes batmen uncomfortable and besides Kallis seems like he can bowl now which gives the Proteas added strenght.So yes if Dale's back then Ntini is out without a doubt in my opnion.

  • Peter - 2009-12-23 17:40

    Clearly time for Smith to go too.

  • Hanno - 2009-12-23 17:42

    I really feel for you Greame. We all know that you are only backing Ntini because you have to. I know that you know better.....but that is politics for you

  • Steadfast - 2009-12-23 17:44

    It is poor decissions like this that have earmarked Smith as a fool and not competent to be captain. Smith is playing the poliitical card to keep his position as he cannot keep his position on form or good leadership. Choose Ntini at your own peril Smith. But to think of it, you dont know any better.

  • Andrew - 2009-12-23 17:52

    Once again Smith keeps his supporters club going. Heaven forbid someone who is not part of his club becoming a regular. Poor show, reward excellence where it is due.

  • Keith - 2009-12-23 17:53

    Can Dale Steyn consistantly bowl wicket to wicket on or just short of a length? He often bowls too short, gets too wrapped up in trying to impose himself on the batsman, instead of being patient! Please inform me as to Wayne Parnell's exclusion. Morne, blows hot and cold? Kallis well.............? Why does CSA not employ the likes of AD, Jonty, etc to help the guys, or are the current team "too good" for this kind of help!

  • Mac - 2009-12-23 18:34

    I support Smith's comment. How can you summarily drop an experienced bowler, with a big heart and gives 110%. Based on one average game where things did not quite work out, you cannot just dump him. Ntini always bounces back and Durban will suit his bowling. He is an intelligent bowler - a review of his performance with the coach can do wonders. Friedel will get his chance

  • robbee - 2009-12-23 19:29

    Every one has sell by date.Ntini is totally ineffective.Let see if Smith is right.I don,t think so.Also De wet can bat too.Loyalty does not win you matches.Please tell me what Ntini offers the Poms for Christmas.Nice goodies.

  • Angus - 2009-12-23 19:30

    Peter and Steadfast have either of you two clowns ever captained a team? I seriously doubt that, you probably the fat losers on the side line commenting about what you know nothing of. Smith is the best captain we have had, even better than Hansie and just took the world record for the highest opening partnership in a Pro 20 (in case you didnt know he also holds the world record for the highest opening partnership in a test). How do you not back one of the leading test wicket takers in SA's history? did you even watch the test?

  • Mike JJ from Botha's Hill - 2009-12-23 19:48

    Include Steyn, Ntini & De Wet ! Morkel is U/S, and getting worse ... he does NOT deserve his place, and has been given far too many chances already!

  • Gruntfuttock of Africa - 2009-12-23 19:53

    Does anyone really care? I prefer Ntini's contribution to that of Smith. Ntini's latest performance can only get better, Smith cannot get worse and is unlikely to get bettter. But Smith is still captain.. why?????..

  • the little cherub - 2009-12-23 20:25

    Now, now Angus, pick up your toys and put them back in your cot.......... Smith, our non-contributing captain (and his equally non-contributory coach0 should be put out to pasture long before the guillotine falls on Makhaya. Consistency, Angus me lad, is the name of the game......not what you scored against Bungle-dash three/four years ago.

  • Allan - 2009-12-23 21:46

    Get rid of Smith and get Botha back into the driving seat. He is a far better captain and proved it in Australia when under his direction the Proteas won the one days games.

  • marco - 2009-12-24 00:17

    What's mindboggling most is that Australia has been the number one test ranked team over the past 20 years or so and never had or made a fuss about not having a native born Aborigines player in their side.And why is that .Surely in its long Ashes history Australia must have had oppotunity to find an Aboriginal "Black Pearl".England for that matter don't even have a black or mixed race player in their test side and yet thier media over in England don't seem to bothered by it.But when South Africa drop Ntini regardless of how poorly he is then ooh ooh we need to look for the next black pearl.How pathetic they keep going backwards with this over,very sensitive b*** of racial quota crap.Move on pick someone that can do the job regardless of what he looks like.

  • Sakkaboela - 2009-12-24 00:41

    Gents, dont forget that we taught the Pommies how to multitask at Magersfontein. Ntini, the boers had their turn, now its yours!! Rim hulle!!!

  • Wouter de Bruin - 2009-12-24 02:09

    Steyn and De Wet against the English - that's what I call psycological warfare!

  • Dgs - 2009-12-24 08:06

    Who cares what Smith thinks. He certainly isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. He will probably bowl old "has-been" at a crucial time again which will end up costing us the match.

  • cois - 2009-12-24 09:33

    I also believe that Makhaya has had his best days but with the likes of Graeme there, we really need a player like him to motivate the guys because Graeme only motivates chewing gum. Maybe he's daydreaming about Minki rather than analysing the game. Graeme unfortunately prooved himself in the first test as a non-aggressive test captain and that is why we drew instead of winning. Why he didn't declare earlier to show the English that we have more than enough runs to defend I sure as hell don't know. He showed the English that he is afraid to challenge them. Those extra overs would have carried us through on the last day but that is why we are not a consistent 1st test ranked team like Australia and that's the difference between winning and drawing. I do however hope that Makhaya do take a few more wickets. He has the right attitude towards the game and that also makes a big difference.

  • Mary - 2009-12-24 11:10

    Long live the spirit of MN - United we stand divided we fall - you are a class act Ntini - Amandla comrade - Aluta Continua

  • Concerned SA Fan - 2009-12-24 11:20

    What's so special about Friedel de Wet in any case that he should leapfrog the likes of Wayne Parnell, Lonwabo and Mondi Zondeki who haven't really been given a proper chance at Test Cricket. This guy brings nothing in terms of extreme pace, swing or seam that is different and on a flat track he will be slaughtered. As for Morkel his " potential" is still to be realised and who knows how many moons we have to wait for that to happen.

  • Raj - 2009-12-24 11:31

    Marco....check your mail...I've sent you a ticket to're an absolute can't find yourself supporting an SA side let a lone a black how the hell do you expect the remaining 80% of SA to support a lily white cricket side......the aborigines were nearly hunted to extinction...and how many native balcks come from Britian...stupid idiot???!!!!

  • like nooit hey - 2009-12-24 12:20

    Amazing to see how many fickle people are out there. I back the Makhaya Ntini express any day, he will come good he bounces back. De Wet was awesome but seriously people, you wanna go with this kid on 1 test? typical SA 'supporters'......drop a 100 test veteran for a new kid on the block. Besides the way our bowlers' injuries seem to be piling up de wet will probably get another chance sooner than expected. To those tuning shite about Biff Smith, who of you backed him on the tour of Oz? Have you ever captained a team in anything? He is backing Ntini because Mak has given his all every single time he's played a test, all 100. I agree with the conservative approach he took, we have a bad habit of losing the first test on an inbound tour and i'd rather us go into the next one on a blank score sheet instead of playing catchup. Go the Proteas....i back you boys no matter what.

  • @concerned SA fan - 2009-12-24 12:28

    It's because De Wet has the best bowling figures this season (in the supersport series) out of the three you mentioned. Furthermore, lets face it, Zondeki isn't anywhere near the bowler that he was a few years ago before he got injured and Parnell and Lonwabo are still young and I am sure they will get their chance soon enough

  • marco - 2009-12-24 13:00

    @Raj You a KOELIE you know that don't you and as such you always PRAAT K@K.Calling me an idiot wow ask yourself how come you have never won a game with a koelie at the the helm or in charge?No koelie has ever led the Springboks,the Proteas or Bafana now have they.Apart from Amla no koelie even plays in any of SA major sports and why is that?Its in your blood that you are weak and vulnerable and pathetic.There is no fierce someness,gumson and mental toughness in your demeanor and that's the way it is.Australia picks teams that can win them games and SA needs to do the same not be outdone by racial quotas b******t.

  • ivago - 2009-12-24 14:28

    i agree that ntini is not in his prime no. would like to see him reach 400wkts though. but what we like and what the team needs are two different things and that is something smith and the selectors dont understand. there r lots of good players who dont even get considered because this f****r doesn't like the guys. on the issue of black players. yes the best players should be chosen regardless of their skin coulor but it seems that the whites get better treatment than players of coulor. i agree with one comment on one of the other articles. why when a player of coulor gets injured he is no longer in the side when they did nothing wrong. they have to first go and prove themselves again at domestic level to be considered again but when the whites get injured they are just back in the team when they no longer injured.

  • vincent - 2009-12-24 15:50

    Steyn, De Wet ,Ntini and we will win all the remaining three matches, England will be to glad if you drop De wet

  • pete - 2009-12-24 16:26

    Mickey and Helium. Both prone to totally misplaced loyalty. The old school tie is alive and well and choking matches.

  • Dennis - 2009-12-26 09:03

    Drop de Wet after the 1st performance and retain Ntini??? Not a good move Graeme!!

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