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Never Fear when Amla is Near

It is good to know that something good can also come from a school like Durban High School. I am talking of course of Hashim Amla, and cannot wait for the response from the DHS old boys, especially the one or two hooligans I know.Enjoy the read, and share you thoughts with us.

Kind regards

Paul Kruger

Amla the warrior and AB the boss!
 – by Bobby Londt

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers

The final ODI between England and the Proteas proved that there is something about the Protea side we can be proud of. Although a drawn series, AB’s men stood up and they were counted when it mattered. From the outset the tone was set by Steyn and the move to open the bowling from the other end with Robbie Petersen was a good example of brave, calculated and innovative leadership. AB marshalled his troops excellently, mixing up his attack and employing strategy with each purposeful move.  Amla, the silent warrior, indeed went through a purple patch on this tour and will feature in many of English bowlers’ nightmares for a while. Adjectives like immense, awesome and sublime are not over the top when discussing this humble man’s achievements.

Although far from the complete package, the Proteas seem to be coping with pressure. Their approach is far removed from the predictable we became used to, and a good future seems likely.  There is still a long way to go as combinations need to be found and worked on in the middle order.  It will take a while and the players who are granted this opportunity need to be given time. After all, life after Jacques Kallis will need proper planning, even if it is 2 or 3 years away. What Gary Kirsten and AB de Villiers have done in this series is to allow themselves to experiment in areas which normally you wouldn’t against such formidable opposition. Brave in many aspects!

I am of the opinion that both the ODI and the test  side needs another keeper! AB de Villiers is too good a batsmen and fielder to be playing the role that he currently fulfils, namely keeper and batsman.  What we should remember about the game is that it is for specialists.  AB is one of the top batsmen in the world and he should be used as that.  With Jacques Kallis at 3 in our ODI side, AB is a must at 4.  The best players must get the most opportunity. This is the philosophy that needs to be adopted.

Squaring the series is a massive achievement and the Proteas deserve the compliments they receive for their display in the final game.  This achievement, under that kind of pressure, might just be the start of removing the “chokers” or “self-destructing” tag that the media has labelled them with for so long – but there is a T20 World Cup around the corner, so let sleeping dogs lie and let’s not talk about that too much.

Heyneke Vat Raak
 – by Paul Kruger

Ons behoort eintlik meer belang te stel in die toets in Argentinië as die Bokke se wedstryd teen die Wallabies. Die vertoning van die All Blacks kan as goeie barometer dien van ons kanse teen die All Blacks volgende naweek. Met Dan Carter uit, gaan dit ‘n strawwer toets wees as wat hulle verwag het.

Daarmee sê ek natuurlik glad nie dat ons die Wallabies as Wannabees moet benader nie. Onthou, hulle het teen ‘n formidabele span verloor. As mens na hul agterlyn kyk, besef jy hoeveel talent daar is, veral Digby Ione en Kurtley Beale. Stephen Moore se besering is eintlik goeie nuus vir ons, ook wat mededinging in die lynstane betref.

Ek glo dat ons die nodige skietgoed voor het om druk daar toe te pas, wat veral vir Quade Cooper sal neutraliseer. Dit behoort die angel uit die res van die agterlyn te haal. Ek is ook baie meer gemaklik met ons agterste driehoek, waar ek glo Hougaard meer van ‘n impak gaan maak as Mvovo – beide op die verdediging en die aanval.

Nic Mallet is van mening dat selfs Dan Carter maar vaal sal lyk in ons “game plan” en dat die blaam nie net op Morné Steyn gelê behoort te word vir ons swak aanvallende spel nie. Dit gaan baie interessant wees om te sien wat die agterlyn more gaan vermag met Ruan Pienaar op nommer nege.

In ‘n onderhoud met Supersport het hy gesê: “For me, as scrumhalf, the most important thing is to deliver good service and to get to the breakdown points quickly. If we can get momentum and get quicker ball then we play some of our best rugby so I just want to do the basics well and the rest will fall into place…”

Na my mening is dit wat hy sê, presies die verskil tussen hom en Hougaard. Laasgenoemde se betrokkenheid by die verdediging maak dat hy nie altyd op sy pos is as daar ‘n vinnige bal gewen word nie. Kom ons hoop dit werk.

Totdat ons nie ‘n opreg geteëlde buitesenter soos Conrad Smith op nommer 13 inspan nie, gaan ons bly sukkel om drieë te druk. Die enigste opsie wat vir my werkbaar lyk, is JP Pietersen, maar sy besering verhoed dat hy op internasionale vlak in hierdie posisie  verder kan ontwikkel.

So van beserings gepraat: ag Heyneke net vir Lambie te klein, of dalk nie goed genoeg nie, of is daar ‘n langtermyn besering waarvan ons nie weet nie? Hy sit op die reserwe bank (dit klink bietjie vreemd, so al of mens dit in hoofletters moet skryf), maar word nie aangewend nie. Dieselfde geld vir Bekker.

Ek hoop net nie ons sien Saterdag te veel spelers wat uit posisie speel nie. Los dit maar liewer vir die WP.

Andries Bekker gaan verseker op vleuel gemis word.

Soos my kollega André Marais sê: Bekker is nie eens op die bankie nie!

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