Who will the Proteas pick in Bangalore?

2015-11-10 12:00
JP Duminy (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - 1-0 down, coming off a batting performance that was enough to make a grown man shiver, coach Russell Domingo and captain Hashim Amla desperately need to find a way past India in Bangalore in the second Test starting on Saturday.

Selecting the right personnel will be key.

In the disaster that was Mohali, the Proteas appeared a batsman short - highlighted by the unsuccessful promotion of Vernon Philander to the top of the order in the second innings.  

JP Duminy is fit again and is expected to walk back into the side, but at whose expense?

Dale Steyn is an injury worry, while Morne Morkel is fit again, and it all paints a quite perplexing scenario for the brains trust.

Conditions will surely determine the direction taken, but ...

Here are a few possible scenarios for the Proteas to consider:

JP Duminy in for Dale Steyn

If Steyn is not fit, then simply replacing him with JP Duminy could be the answer. This would substantially lengthen the batting line-up, with Dane Vilas moving down to No 7. But it would also mean that the Proteas are possibly too spin-heavy with Imran Tahir, Simon Harmer, Dean Elgar and Duminy in the side. Of course, if the pitch is anything like Mohali then there is no such thing as being too spin-heavy, but going in with just two seamers (Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada) would be very unfamiliar territory for the Proteas.

Factor in Morne Morkel

The only way it seems that Morne Morkel will play is if Steyn is not fit. That could be a straight change. There is also the possibility of youngster Kagiso Rabada dropping out for Morkel, which could see the old Steyn/Philander/Morkel partnership restored, but it is hard to see that happening.

Give AB the gloves and pick Temba Bavuma

With Duminy coming back in, the Proteas batting will naturally be stronger. But if they give AB de Villiers the gloves, then they could include Temba Bavuma ahead of Dane Vilas. It is not that Bavuma is a stronger batsman than Vilas - their first class stats tell a different story - but the Highveld Lions man does have the technique and innovation to suggest that he might be better equipped to handle the Indian spinners.

How much spin is too much spin?

This is perhaps the biggest question the Proteas need to ask. If Duminy is considered an adequate enough spin bowler, then one of Simon Harmer or Imran Tahir could fall out of the side. This would provide room to keep three seamers. The conditions in Bangalore will determine this decision, but leaving out one of the specialist spinners would be a massive call after what happened in Mohali. 

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