Can the Proteas step up?

2014-02-10 13:49
Proteas celebrate (Gallo Images)
When you represent your country on the highest level, many would raise an eyebrow as well as ask the question: How could you be called a dark horse? Coz when you play for your country, surely you must have the skills & talent to play for them. And they’d be right by asking that question. But we all know that on that level (and especially on that level), you get your good players & then you get some rare ones that are a cut above the rest. I mean to a certain extend we know what to expect from a Hash or AB… Or a Steyn or Philander but what about the others? And that’s what I’m exploring here: Other players & contributions that could be key to us winning the series

Alviro Petersen
For the last few weeks I’ve read about how the Ozzies plan to target certain batsmen as they feel that if they get them back into dugout, their chances of keeping SA’s run totals to a minimum will be much bigger. Biff (as captain), AB & Hash (as our best batsmen) & Faf in his new role as nr.4 batsman will surely be on top of that list but I have yet to read any mention of Viro’s name with regards to the Ozzies plans. Now the way I see it is that Petersen can either make them respect him by scoring a few much needed  centuries or he can prove them right by continuing his below par form, further putting his place in the team in jeopardy, well at least from our fans point of view.

JP's spinning
Batting wise, 2013 wasn’t a good year for Duminy as his average of just under 17 will tell you. So saying as a middle order batsman he’ll have to improve that come 2014 is basically a given and quite frankly just stating the obvious. I’m however very interested in seeing how Biff will use his ability to chuck the offie and whether or not it will be effective. The Ozzies already have 2 lefties in their top 6 and if Shaun Marsh or Phil Hughes is to replace George Bailey, they’ll have 3 batters Koppe can get that elusive nick from when going for the off-drive. Yes, JP must focus on his primary role in the team but having a decent left & right handed off spinner in your team can only improve the captain’s bowling options.

Morkel becoming more aggro

I remember back in 2008 when we toured Australia, Morkel gave Ponting a real nasty bouncer against his helmet that was so ferocious, Punter fell to the ground & had to take a couple of seconds to recollect himself. It was then when a young Morkel walked down to the pitch to check if the Ozzie captain was ok only to be met by an angry captain & keeper ordering him to get back to the start of his run-up. Fast forward a couple of years & it looks like things haven’t changed one bit as his fellow pace man Dale Steyn came out & said that if Morkel can be more angry, he’d  be one of the best bowlers in the world. Now I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wana see Morne bowling in the high 140’s, chirping batsmen & just being an all & out badass but if it’s not his style maybe he shouldn’t tinker with it. Having said that, can you imagine the Ozzies surprise & maybe even discomfort when Morkel also start giving them the fiery eyes as well??

One of the latest feathers we’ve added in our Test cap has been the often crucial contributions we’ve received guys coming in at 8,9 & to a lesser extend 10 & 11. They usually push a total that could’ve been 250 to 320 or a 320 to a 400 but more importantly they can also show resistance: In the test against Oz where Faf was the deserved hero, Steyn went out for a duck, yes a duck but it wasn’t until he already faced 27 balls that the Ozzies finally got him. And what about Vern who’s quickly becoming more & more respected for his batting as the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s are starting to pile up.  It really deflates the opposition energy physically & mentally when they struggle to get those last couple of wickets so I hope out tail does some serious wagging come the series against Oz but hopefully it’s not needed.

I’m outy


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