'Who is Tsotsobe?'

2010-10-29 23:31
Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Gallo Images)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – It would seem as if Lonwabo Tsotsobe, presently basking in the glow of a dream four days in the Proteas shirt, has taken a leaf from compatriot Graeme Smith’s book by heavily punishing apparent disrespect to his name.

Back in 2003, with Smith the then-rookie captain of his country, England counterpart Nasser Hussain is said to have disdainfully described Smith as “Wottsisname” – and/or “Greg Smith”, to take the legend a tad further -- in the immediate lead-up to the first Test at Edgbaston.

The not-trifling matter of 277 runs by the big left-hander later, Hussain was rather painfully enlightened as to who precisely GC Smith was, and his own downfall as home skipper quickly followed.

If television commentator and former Pakistan batting legend Ramiz Raja is to be believed, Shahid Afridi inquired of the very Smith, at the toss for the first ODI in Abu Dhabi on Friday, who Tsotsobe was.

It was a quite incredible gaffe, if so, and every bit a reflection of the comical, ill-prepared shambles that is the Pakistani national team right now.

As Cricinfo’s Osman Samiuddin observed: “Having already suffered two top-order collapses at Tsotsobe’s hands in the Twenty20 internationals, Afridi should have known him.

“(And) Tsotsobe’s four-wicket haul leaves Afridi in no more doubt.”
South Africa went on to crush Pakistan by eight wickets with all of 63 balls to spare, for their third convincing triumph on the trot since Tuesday, when the first of two T20 internationals was staged.

The lanky Warriors left-arm seamer, who was rightly named man-of-the-match for his stunning analysis of 10-3-27-4 on a mostly batting-friendly track, thus earned the rare distinction of recording personal international bests across two limited-overs formats well within the space of a week.

In Tuesday’s tour opener in the neutral United Arab Emirates, the 26-year-old had returned almost as striking figures of 4-0-16-3.

Samuiddin aptly noted that on Friday the 26-year-old “caused Pakistan’s middle and lower order to implode quicker than a poorly-made soufflé … his triumph was not to flag in the heat”.

Tsotsobe, more than anyone – although the way more experienced Johan Botha and Jacques Kallis also applied the brakes brilliantly – was responsible for spectacularly nipping in the bud a Pakistani advance to a position where they really should have posted around 275 after taking first strike.

Instead they collapsed to a desperately sub-standard 203 all out, after a great century-stand foundation from Mohammad Hafeez and the returning Younis Khan, and again it just did not give their altogether more conscientious bowlers a decent chance of defending the total.

Tsotsobe bowled near-perfect lengths, which enabled him to exploit his confessed chief desire to induce false strokes from the batsmen, and mixed up his pace deftly, while his faster deliveries occasionally found an extra yard that had been less prevalent in the T20s.

He now sports 20 wickets at 21.35 from 11 ODIs, and an economy rate shifting encouragingly away from the five-an-over mark at 4.92.

Former SA captain Kepler Wessels enthused that Tsotsobe, in the early part of the UAE venture, was bowling as well as he had ever seen him, and posed a threat to Wayne Parnell – the other highly-touted Proteas left-armer from the Warriors franchise – for a place in the Test side against Pakistan a little further up the tour line.

*Meanwhile it has been confirmed that the umpire decision review system will not be employed for the two-Test series, reportedly because of the nature of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s contract with its broadcaster.

Read more on:    lonwabo tsotsobe  |  proteas

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