Cape Town – A
timely, increasingly impressive trend in one-day international bowling economy may
well be pushing Dwaine Pretorius closer to nailing down South Africa’s vexing No
7 berth for the 2019 World Cup.
all-rounder occupied the spot in Saturday’s loss to Pakistan in the first of
five ODIs at St George’s Park, and it was through no fault of his own that the
Proteas played second fiddle.
did not get to take guard – neither did six other team-mates in their unusual
total of 266 for two after taking first strike – but bowled a full spell of 10
overs for the most parsimonious economy rate of any colleague as he leaked only
42 runs, albeit going wicketless.
pleasing pattern is also developing: it was the fourth time in his last five
ODI appearances, all of which have involved maximum-overs spells by the lanky
competitor, in which he has travelled at beneath five runs to the over.
both all-rounders played in Port Elizabeth at the weekend, Pretorius looks more
and more like the “incumbent” at No 7 ahead of Andile Phehlukwayo in the mind
of coach Ottis Gibson and others, as he has held the spot for all of the last
three ODIs and seems destined to do so once more in game two of the series at
Kingsmead on Tuesday (13:00 start).
Pretorius is looking the more reliable option as fifth bowler in the line-up,
and it is at least partly reflected in how much more often he is entrusted with
the full 10 overs in ODIs.
completed that task in seven of his 15 bowling innings, whereas Phehlukwayo has
only done so on a skimpy four occasions in 35.
there have been plenty of occasions where the latter, especially, has shared
his ration of overs with someone like part-time off-spinner and seasoned
batting factor JP Duminy, who is currently on the recovery path from injury.
But you get
the sense, nevertheless, that the slightly brisker Pretorius is increasingly
deemed more “trustworthy” by the team’s masterminds for keeping a lid on the
his ability to nip the ball away a little from the right-hander at the crease (Phehlukwayo
relies rather more on a mix-it-up range of skills) Pretorius also looks like a
better option strategically for English pitches, on which CWC 2019 matches will
nine matches left (four against Pakistan, a further five against Sri Lanka) for
the No 7 problem – it has quite long been considered that – to be meaningfully resolved,
so the sands of time are trickling out for any additional players like Chris
Morris or veteran Test kingpin Vernon Philander to re-enter the radar.
Mulder has also only just returned to best fitness after a long-term injury and
has ground to make up in a relative hurry.
from the camp suggests that they especially desire an all-rounder who will
offer satisfying batting credentials at seven, so again Pretorius may boast the
inside lane if technical orthodoxy and acumen is going to be deemed a superior
quality to sheer use of the long handle brazenly from time to time.
29-year-old unquestionably sports better general statistical returns with the
blade than someone like Phehlukwayo: his first-class average is 37.95 to his
rival’s 20.46, and domestic limited-overs (List A) one 31.88, as opposed to
It must be
said that the more youthful Dolphins player has a superior average specifically
in ODIs, although his 26.90 is inflated by almost half his knocks being
late-innings “not outs” – hardly a crime, of course -- and Pretorius (16.83)
has only batted seven times in the format so far.
Pretorius has 22 ODI wickets at an average of 27.09 and overall economy rate,
though it has gradually been coming down, of 4.79.
has 44 scalps at 31.09, and leaks runs more obviously: economy 5.75.
Right now, and
although things could change, Phehlukwayo and any other late chargers have got
to go some: the ticket to No 7 seems more Pretorius’s to lose than anything
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