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Rudolph's SA T20 push

2012-10-18 14:02


Cape Town - His is not the most natural name you roll off your lips, perhaps, in terms of possible Twenty20 international duty for South Africa.
But what price Jacques Rudolph suddenly re-entering the equation at that level later this summer?

The experienced Titans left-hander has been one of the batting stars of the first few rounds of matches in the Champions League T20 competition, and looks increasingly at ease in the format for someone more recently associated with the vastly differing demands of Test activity.

Rudolph has always been a relatively “classical” stroke-player, if you like, as evidenced by his involvement in 46 Test matches for the Proteas over a nine-year period (he also sports 45 caps in one-day internationals).

He is seldom mentioned in the same breath as people like Chris Gayle, David Warner and Herschelle Gibbs for boundary-seeking relish and crowd-pleasing audacity in cricket’s most abbreviated format.

But the 31-year-old has only ever been given an opportunity in one T20 international, against Australia at Brisbane back in early 2006 - for the record, he went to the crease in the hardly ideal (for him) slot of No 7 and duly registered six not out off seven balls in a heavy loss for South Africa.

Busy trying to re-establish himself as a regular once more in the Test side - he played a full part in the 2-0 series triumph in England and goes to Australia shortly - a little curveball of late has been his enterprise and efficiency at T20 level for the Titans.

The Centurion-based side boast an encouraging two wins from as many outings in the CLT20, and Rudolph has been at the forefront each time.

First he smashed a career-best 83 not out off 59 balls against the Perth Scorchers before his appreciative home crowd on Saturday, at a strike rate of 140 and including nine fours and three sixes.

He followed it up with an almost as fluent 63 off 56 deliveries against Auckland in Durban on Wednesday; it was also the second time that the opening alliance of Rudolph and Henry Davids had blossomed.

Rudolph’s Twenty20 career at franchise level is beginning to swell quite nicely in statistical terms: in 71 knocks in this brand of the game he has assembled 1976 runs at an average of 33.49 and decent strike rate of 117.

As well as he has played various textbook strokes, Rudolph has also shown an increasing willingness to engage the reverse sweep to wreak handy havoc with field placings.

The Titans are next in action against the already-eliminated Kolkata Knight Riders at Newlands on Sunday, where he gets the chance to confirm his T20 fettle against an attack that might include such accomplished players as compatriot Jacques Kallis, the still nippy Brett Lee, Indian international seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji and the highly-rated West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine.

The Proteas do not play any limited-overs fare at all on their looming tour of Australia, but Rudolph can use the remainder of this tournament, nevertheless, to force the national selectors into some “mental notes” for when they do play T20 internationals against both mid-summer guests to our shores, New Zealand and Pakistan.

South Africa are less than settled at the top of the order, where Richard Levi’s stocks have been deteriorating in recent weeks, which is something Rudolph will hardly be oblivious to ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24

Comments
  • Sonnyjakes - 2012-10-18 14:20

    In 2003 OZ tour of SA he hit a ton against them in a warm up game. Gilcrhrist also made a huge ton for OZ. Jacques pasted Shane Warne of all people all over Centurion Park. After his innings Jimmy Maher commended him by saying it was one of the best one day innings he had ever seen.

      sedick.gydien - 2012-10-18 15:25

      Was 2003 not 9 years ago? Wow, the good old days!!!! What about the famous innings of Gibbs in the 438 game? Or the innings from Ponting in the same game? Rudolph is a good batsman, but an ave of 36 in 46 Tests, 35 in 45 ODIs, and and a strike rate of 117 in T20 is not great. He was/is give more chances than most......even when he was brought back again, he failed as an opener , and had to be accommodated in the middle order - where he has hardly set the world alight!!!! Ashwel Prince had a test average of 41 and was dropped from the team. I would rather invest in a Quinten de Kok, or Riliee Roussouw, Behardien,

  • sedick.gydien - 2012-10-18 14:23

    Another article from a "rent a fan writer". One swallow does not make a summer. Rudolph is not comfortable in the 20/20 format - remember a certain great batsman called Kallis? The minute they have to chase more than a run-a-ball, they resemble a deer caught in a headlight. Did we learn nothing from the recent T20 WC? Pick 20/20 specialists......

      vis.voges - 2012-10-18 14:41

      Specialists T20 players like Levi? that turned out well hey....clearly you havnt been watching the IPL...Kallis was one of the form batsmen in the last IPL,if you're on form you should be chosen and clearly Rudolph is on form doesnt matter what format!

      sedick.gydien - 2012-10-18 14:50

      @Vis....you are correct about IPL. But IPL is NOT WC. How many WCs has Kallis won? Choke, Choke, Choke!!!! And Levi was surrounded by Test batsman - Kallis, Amla......AND, who holds the record for fastest T20 100? is it not a guy called Levi? Did he also not win the world T20 award? Also, I did not see any of the Rudolf form in England? Kallis IS a great batsman, probably the best SA will have, but he is NOT a T20 batsman. He can come off now and then, but he looks totally inept when asked to score quickly!

      vis.voges - 2012-10-18 15:11

      Since Levi's 117 what has he done? I agree that Kallis hasnt performed with the bat but he sure made up with the ball! And i think the choke tag you so clearly pointed out is not just for one player but for the whole side! I still think on current form Rudolph should get a look at!

      grant.callaway.50 - 2012-10-18 15:12

      @sedick - sorry chap, but your are arguing against your own points! "One swallow does not make a summer" - a couple of good innings' from Rudolph means nothing, but "AND, who holds the record for fastest T20 100?" - Levi's one and only remarkable score...I guess THAT swallow makes a summer? What does batting with people like Amla have to do with his own failures? Amla was scoring at a faster rate that Levi in most games. Kallis was only coming in at 7, and facing less than 10 balls. Very biased comment fella - with very little backing!

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-10-18 15:25

      I think it depends on the players themselves. Chris Gayle might be viewed as a T20 specialist. But he has the highest Test batting average (85) in the world over the last 24 months and two Test 300s to his name as well. So it's kinda hard for the Windies to NOT pick him, regardless of format. There are many others like that as well - Mahela, Kumar, Yuvraj, Virat, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson, AB, KP, Mike Hussey, guys that make a tremendous contribution regardless of format. It is only really England who seem to be following a deliberate policy of separating the two formats, keeping their Test "purists" (Cook, Bell, Trott, Prior) out of the T20 fray and grooming a bunch of sloggers (Kieswetter, Hales, Wright, Buttler, Morgan, Patel) for national T20 duty. And even then, KP is so good that they want him in both formats. Although, curiously, the opposite applies in their bowling. Their T20 attack is just their Test attack with Jade Dernbach deputising for Jimmy Anderson. I think countries are still finding their way in T20 and deciding which route to go. It's going to be interesting to see how the format develops over the next few years.

      sedick.gydien - 2012-10-18 15:40

      Let's see. Looking at stats. Kallis's last 7 innings - 13, 8, DNB, DNB, 12, 6....a highest score of 64 in 25 matches, strike rate 119. Considering that he mostly bats within the top 4, not a great record. He bats too slow, and puts pressure on the other batsmen to take chances!! Levy has a 20/20 strike rate of 146, with ave 26, HS 117. LOL, stats can be used to say anything.....Again, Kallis is a great batsman- no greatest of batsmen - but is not a 20/20 player. As a ex-protea remarked - John Smit was one of the greatest Bokke ever, but he did not play Sevens!!!!

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-10-18 16:06

      The funny thing is that JK actually has a higher IPL strike rate than Herschelle Gibbs. JK bats at just under 111 S/R over 73 innings, Gibbs at just under 110 over 33 innings. Biff splits the difference at 110.6 over 29 innings. If you had to ask cricket fans to rate those three in terms of IPL strike rate, I'm guessing 95% would say Gibbs, Biff, JK. In reality, that order is reversed.

      vis.voges - 2012-10-18 16:06

      Levi's stats arent looking much beter hey! He scored 71 runs in his last 7 innings which includes a 50 against Zim...8,0,1,50,4,8,0 not looking to good! Guess you're "stats can be used for anything" line doenst apply to Levi? This still has nothing to do with my argument that we should pic player who's on form...which Rudolph is currently in!

      grant.callaway.50 - 2012-10-18 16:40

      @sedick - seriously, now you are being just plain stupid! "Kallis's last 7 innings - 13, 8, DNB, DNB, 12, 6,6" - as mentioned before, HE WAS BATTING AT NO.7, AND COULD ONLY FACE AROUND 10 BALLS!! 13 NOT OUT (from 7); 8 NOT OUT (from 5); DNB X2 (is not a failure); 12 (from 18 poor); 6 (from 7) and 6 (from 8). So from your examples, he was only dismissed 3 times, one of which at a rate much under a run a ball. ONE FAILURE. Then you stop there, because the innings' prior to those 7 (which included only one failure) were 48 not out (from 44), 61 (from 42), and 53 (from 45). If you are going to use stats to back up your argument, try make them decent ones. What you've done is simply prove your bias and disregard for ACTUAL achievements.

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-10-18 16:59

      Kallis wasn't batting at 7 in the WC. Against Pak, he batted 3 and made 12 from 18. Against Australia, he batted at 3 and made 6 from 7 balls. Against India, he opened and made 6 from 8. So that was three successive failures in the Super Eights stage of the WC. His batting at 7 was, ironically, better than his batting up the order. That's not to say that he alone was responsible for our problems. Levi and Hash both failed as well, hence our early departure from the tournament. In eight innings between them, they made 51 runs - 14 less than Faf scored on his own against India. When your top three are back in the hut inside the power play and with only thirty or so on the board, you're always going to struggle.

      grant.callaway.50 - 2012-10-18 17:55

      The simple fact here, is that NOBODY performed well for us in this tournament - so any argument that "specialist T20 players" outperform our recognised test players is invalid. It is highly unlikely that anybody who regularly performs well at international T20 level would not also make for a good ODI player. In the same way that 1st class cricket is a different ball-game to International level, domestic T20 is not the same as international. So using domestic performance as "proof" of superiority due to specialisation is just plain silly.

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-10-18 19:35

      Yeah, I'd agree with that. If you look at the T20 WC overall, most of the top performers are Test players. The top ten run-getters were Watson, Mahela, Samuels, Gayle, McCullum, Wright, Kohli, Dilshan, Kumar and Hafeez. Wright is the only "T20 specialist" among them. In the bowlers, the top wicket-takers were Mendis, Watson, Starc, Narine, Ajmal, Balaji, Rampaul, Yuvraj, Finn and Southee - all Test players with the arguable exception of Balaji who only has 8 Tests for India. By comparison, many of the "T20 specialists" like Albie, Levi, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, Kieswetter, Hales, Dernbach, Kieron Pollard either failed to fire or performed erratically. India, who won 4 of their 5 matches at the WC, started seven of the team who played in the Test series against NZ before the WC: Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Raina, MSD, RAshwin and Zak Khan. And it might have been 8 if Yuvraj had been fit for the NZ Test series. Of the four Test starters who didn't make the T20 team, three (Sachin, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha) are accomplished IPL stars. It was only Cheteshwar Pujara who isn't considered a T20 talent. He is a squad member of RCB but doesn't get many IPL starts. There may come a time when T20 specialists outshine the Test stars. But we're still some distance away from that imo.

      sedick.gydien - 2012-10-18 23:55

      FANTASTIC DEBATE ALL - thanks. But my opinion is still that Kallis is the greatest cricketer that SA has produced to date, but is not a T20I batsman!!!! Like an F40 Ferrari is not a better rally car than a Audi Quatro, but is a better (by far) road/race car!!!! LOL

  • Hansie.Crook - 2012-10-18 14:33

    In T20 pick T20 specialist.. Chris Morris of Lions should be close into making that side.. He can bowl and bat at death

      Sonnyjakes - 2012-10-18 14:38

      Fully agree with about Morris. Big Jacques fan but think Morris can be our next allrounder in all formats?

  • david.stuart.161 - 2012-10-18 16:54

    SA should try.. 1-Rudolf 2-Kallis 3-Faf 4-De Villers 5-Levi 6-Berharden 7-Miller 8-Botha 9-Steyn 10-Tsotsobe 11-Theron

      david.stuart.161 - 2012-10-18 16:56

      Include Thomas,Peterson,Elgar and De Kock..

      matt.jarvis.77312477 - 2012-10-18 20:01

      I'd drop Levi completely from the Protea squad and let him go get some runs somewhere after what I saw of him in that horror freakshow of his in Sri Lanka.He should'n't be near the Proteas Hotel or any of their training facilities because of the embarrasment he caused us in that T20 tournament.

      sedick.gydien - 2012-10-18 23:03

      And Duminy? T20I record: 42 games, SR 122, ave 32,8, HS 96no,

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-10-19 00:00

      It's odd how quickly Hash has dropped from favour. During the Eng tour, some of the resident mouth-breathers were accusing me of being a "Hash hater". Now I find myself in the somewhat lonely position of having to defend him... Anyway, the point: I don't buy that Hash can't play T20. Over the past 24 months, he has an ODI strike rate 17 higher than JK's, 7 higher than JP Duminy, 6 higher than Faf, 22 higher than Biff, 4 higher than supposed "limited overs specialist" Colin Ingram, and is roughly the same as lower order sloggers Robin P and Albie. Of the world top 50 in ODIs over the past two years, the only guys who have higher strike rates than Hash are Watson, Sehwag, AB, Raina and Pollard. Hash is about level with McCuIlum, Morgan and Kieswetter - and all of those are rated as explosive T20 hitters. If he can do it in the 50 over game, why not the 20 over game? He can't hit it as high or as far as Gayle. But you don't have to. Even T20 rewards good cricket strokes. Hash is much like Gautam Gambhir, all wristly flicks and sweet timing. And Gambhir scores at a fantastic lick. I think sending in Faf with instructions to belt it over the ring like he's doing now with CSK, and Hash to work it around and hit sweet cuts and drives to pierce the field, would be a fine opening combo. Yes, he lost form in SL. But so did everybody else. In form, Hash could be devastating in T20.

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