Prince's future role unclear

2010-02-05 15:43

Ashwell Prince will open the batting in the first Test against India starting in Nagpur on Saturday, but he is not taking any bets that he will remain there in the post-Mickey Arthur era.

"It's obviously been difficult, but I've made goals at opening the batting and I'm starting to get used to it. I sat down with Corrie van Zyl and Kepler Wessels when we arrived in India. They don't know how permanent their positions are, but their feeling was that, for this series, my best place is to open.

"When Cricket South Africa decide on the long-term process, we'll see. Whoever's in charge then, they'll decide. It's not really my decision, I obviously want to play and if that means opening the batting, then I'll give it my best shot," Prince said.

A troubled series against England started all the questions, but Prince does not appear to be out of form. Most of his dismissals against England could be ascribed to fantastic deliveries in bowler-friendly conditions.

"Ashwell is a quality player although he's obviously had a rough run lately. But he was a really strong cog in our batting line-up before, he managed to get some big runs domestically, he's started this tour well and he's looked good in the nets," captain Graeme Smith said on Friday.

Opening the batting, especially in South Africa, requires mental strength above all else: calmness and clarity of thought; and Prince spoke eloquently about what the job entailed.

"It revolves around your game plan, it will be very different to how you play in the middle-order. It's very different against the new ball and you need to organise a game plan that's more suitable to it. You have to hit straighter, not try and play too square, and you need to leave a lot more. In the middle-order, the ball will be softer so you can play at a lot more deliveries.

"Conditions in India make it easier to open, but the ball is still new and it might swing. You don't expect as much bounce and seam movement here, it won't be as extreme as back home. It was a tough series against England because of the pitches and the seaming ball," Prince said.

The left-hander admitted, however, that it was an embarrasing dismissal, lamely edging Graeme Swann's second ball to slip, in the first innings of the first test against England at SuperSport Park that started the rot.

"It's always disappointing to get a few low scores in a row, but what makes it worse was that at Centurion, I had a good start in the first innings, got to 45 and then played a lazy shot as soon as the spinner came on. It was downhill from there.

"If you get an unplayable ball, then so be it, but to get out to a lazy shot once you've got in makes you want to die. When you get in, you want to make the most of it because you know tough times could be just around the corner. I can live with getting out to a good ball, but I'm really trying not to have any soft dismissals," Prince said.

Prince is a gritty, determined character and India is just the place for him to cash in and turn his recent misfortune around.


  • Waffiq - 2010-02-05 16:30

    His future is unclear because he's colored,if he waz white it would have been clear.

  • erewhon - 2010-02-05 16:44

    He was our absolute rock at number 5/6 in Australia and the management needs to find a way to play him there.

  • 360Deg - 2010-02-05 18:01

    Drop Boucher, move prince to 5, give AB the gloves and move him to 7, Petersen to open there problem solved. Nud said.

  • Rumour - 2010-02-05 18:10

    Prince has got what it takes to open. Point, stop, finish and klaar... Waffiq, what are you suggesting? That he's not good enough? That a white player would have been kicked out? (AB, Rudolph, Boeta, etc....) many white players have extended runs. It is now Prince's shot. I believe he will make it at 1.

  • Noodles - 2010-02-05 18:17

    JP Duminy happens to be my favourite player but IMO, it will be very harsh on Ashwell if he gets himself dropped. Prior to getting injured he was SA most consistent player at the time, he was SA's rock at number 6. If he continues to struggle opening the batting then IMO he should be moved down the order to number 5 or 6 and JP Duminy should be dropped. Anywho - I hope the best for Ashwell and Duminy and for the Proteas to do well in india. Hopefully both find form and top score in the series

  • Peter Pan - 2010-02-05 21:03

    I still believe he is our BEST nr5, he got injured, and JP played 2 good innings, and after that he never did anything. We all know that JP is a very talented player, and definitly a star of the future, but if anybody needs to be dropped, it should be Dumminy, and not Prince. Stop trying to convert middle order batsmen into openers. Opening batsmen is a specialist posistion, and we need a specialist. Drop Dumminy, move Prince back to 5. Get in a specialist. Oh and stop this nonsense about dropping Boucher. He was the player of the series against England.... And leave AB to concentrate on batting... We have openers in this country that makes the cut. And even Mckenzie can still open, he had an average of almost 50 before australia, and lost form... But his form is back, so why not get him back, he is a specialist batsman. Open with Smith,Mckenzie, Amla,Kallis,Prince,AB/Dumminy and Boucher. Then please get Parnell in the Test team parmenently!!! He is such a dangerous bowler!! And Langenveldt for the 1dayers! My biggest concern is the Spinner... Harris didn't perform against England, but we all know he is good. Botha's form is starting to return, so picking the correct spinner is gonna be a tough pick,

  • jhp - 2010-02-05 21:16

    wens mense wil nou ophou daaraan dink om bouch te drop!!! hoe vervang jy ervaring? plus hoe vervang bouch se bydrae in die engeland reeks??? F@k mense dink 'n slag 360Deg jy weet f@kkol van krieket!

  • Joe - 2010-02-06 08:19

    The obvious solution to the opening problem is being ignored. Amla is effectively opening anyway at the moment and is going OK. Move him up to open with Smith. Also left right combination which makes it more difficult for the bowlers. Either Kallis or de Villiers number 3 - my preference would be for Kallis, Prince 5 where he belongs and has done well, and Duminy 6. SA is trashing Prince's career. He is not a an opener. Look how he has been dismissed. He doesn't leave well. Look at the test match this morning. He was unlucky but did not show good technique by dropping his hands - he hasn't got that openers leaving instinct. The instinctive technique needed for opening is a mind set. Openers have often opened all their lives. Prince is a very effective middle order batsman. I even believe discarding McKenzie was premature. He was able to make the jump. Getting through the first morning of a test match regardless of how many runs you make is a huge plus for the team. I think Prince at opener is putting pressure on Smith. The Indians used great tactics against Smith. They kept him runless and nearly chopped off the innings before it started. Thank heavens for master batsman Kallis (what a wonderful display this morning) and Amla is showing he has all the nous and ability played his back up role to perfection i.e. he showed he is quite suited to the openers role

  • ELSA - 2010-02-06 10:57

    360deg must be a black or coloured. why drop boucher if prince is the "poor" guy that can't score??????? Oh i know!!!! boucher is white, therefore he must go. so f#$@$# typical.

  • Centurion - 2010-02-07 14:52

    ELSA, get over it... Can you not disagree with someone without bringing race into it? By the way, I think that Prince should be replaced - he does not look good enough opening - perhaps he should return to domestic cricket until a middle order spot opens up.

  • Centurion - 2010-02-07 14:58

    My previous comment is directed at Waffiq as well.

  • ELSA - 2010-02-08 08:29


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