Cape Town - Proteas’ captain Graeme Smith believes the infusion of young and inexperienced talent will make the ICC World Cup campaign an exciting adventure, that will pose challenges for him as captain, and bring fresh energy to the team.
“It is an exciting time,” commented Smith. “I don’t think you look at it and say ‘I have to perform’ or ‘I have to make the difference’. There will be 11 of us on the field tomorrow (in the fourth MTN ODI against India at Axxess DSL St. George’s) and we have to trust one another, and each other to perform our roles and that will be good enough to get us over the line.
“There are not a lot of guys in our squad who have been to World Cups before, and the guys who have been before can use their experiences to help grow the guys and put them in better shape.
“The young guys bring something fresh and new and we can work with that.”
Smith added that, apart from two lower-order collapses, the team had played excellent cricket against India and “could as easily be 3-0 up as 2-1 down”.
Smith’s views have been echoed by national selection convener Andrew Hudson, who believes that the squad is still growing and that the best of them has yet to be seen.
The World Cup squad has an excellent balance, in that the presence of Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis in the top six allows the Proteas to field seven specialist batsmen in any match, and also to have seven bowling options.
Morne van Wyk, whose primary role in the squad is as back-up wicketkeeper to De Villiers, could end up playing a key role in the big hitting department. He was man of the match in the MTN40 second leg semifinal against the Nashua Dolphins, and again in the final against the Nashua Titans, with knocks of 109 off 103 balls and an unbeaten 85 off 70 balls respectively.
He was also outstanding in the final of the triangular tournament in Sri Lanka, when he smashed 136 not out (108 balls, 16 fours and 2 sixes) to carry South Africa A to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka A with more than 3 overs to spare.
Van Wyk will be one of several squad members in contention to play their first match of the MTN series either at Axxess DSL St. George’s on Friday or at SuperSport Park on Sunday.