England in SA

Proteas: Understated Pretorius shows value of Test all-rounder

2019-12-29 20:50
Dwaine Pretorius (Gallo)
Dwaine Pretorius (Gallo)

Centurion - While man-of-the-match Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje finished the first Test against England at Centurion as the obvious South African heroes, there was another superb performance in the form of debutant all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius

His returns perhaps didn't make for the most glamorous reading, but they were incredibly important given the match situations at the time. 

Pretorius' knock of 33 in South Africa's first innings saw him share in an 87-run stand for the sixth-wicket with De Kock (95), taking the Proteas from a worrying 111/5 to 198/6 as they batted their side back into a position of control. 

It was with the ball, though, where Pretorius was most impressive. 

Operating as the fourth seamer in the attack, the 30-year-old carded figures of 1/23 (8) and then 1/26 (16)

It meant that, throughout the Test match, Pretorius went at just a little over two runs per over and that is part of the reason that captain Faf du Plessis was so pleased with his efforts. 

Having a consistently performing all-rounder is not a luxury the Proteas have always had in their Test ranks. 

The likes of Andile Phehlukwayo, Wiaan Mulder, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell and Ryan McLaren have all been fielded by the Proteas in recent years with varying degrees of success, but there has perhaps not been the importance placed on the role that there is now. 

New head coach Mark Boucher has openly stated that he values all-rounders, while Du Plessis confirmed on Sunday that it was a tactic he was looking to explore more on the journey ahead. 

"We've been thinking about that for a while," he said at SuperSport Park. 

"It's just so much easier for me to control different bowlers if you do have an all-rounder in your side.

"It is something moving forward, in South Africa, that is very important having a guy that can bowl you 10 or 15 overs and can score runs.

"Dwaine domestically has batted the best out of all the all-rounders and scored the most runs and the stats are there to prove that he has probably been the best allrounder.

"In this game he was brilliant. He bowled his 10 to 15 overs going at 1.5 or 2 ... it's exactly what we needed as a team.

"In the past, even on wickets that didn't spin, I would have to go to Kesh and luckily he has produced. But on a wicket like this that is more suited to seam bowlers.

"As a team we are much more balanced with something like that and now it's about growing more all-rounders in the country."

The other option with the current squad is Phehlukwayo, but consistency in his batting has been a problem. 

Du Plessis, though, insists that work is being done on the 23-year-old all the time. 

"That's why Andy is also here trying to improve his game and work with some really good batting coaches," said Du Plessis.

"His bowling is good enough to be a Test player and batting is still about getting him to know how to score runs.

"He is still very young, and he hasn't played a lot of first-class cricket but he'll get there. It's just about putting some great minds around him and then he'll grow."

Read more on:    proteas  |  dwaine pretorius  |  centurion  |  cricket


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