The Proteas finished off in fine style last night by decimating the West Indies in a display of brute force with the bat, along with a well-executed plan on the field when bowling. Bear in mind, this was the Proteas second-string attack as there were no Morkel, Steyn, Philander or Tahir. It was great preparation for the fringe players to go to the World Cup with some good performances under the belt.
So what would the best XI look like? Rillee Rossouw has made a strong case with two fine 100’s in the series – Dave Miller has also delivered and enough has been said about the brilliance of Amla and De Villiers.
A point for discussion could be the wicket keeping role. To me the obvious choice is to play Quinton de Kock as an opening bat and wicket keeper, which will allow skipper De Villiers some room to operate in a tournament that will be a long one, with intense pressure and expectations on the field and off. His value as a fielder, arguably one of the best in the world, is not to be overlooked either.
- De Kock (w/k)
- Faf du Plessis
- De Villiers (C)
The depth created by Russel Domingo by giving the fringe players sufficient game time in the T20’s and remaining ODI’s has allowed him to slot any of these players in with confidence. So all in all, whatever the XI on the day, the side is as well prepared as can be.
In response to a question on the strength of the Protea squad, two respected experts commented as follows:
Graeme Smith: I feel like it’s a good opportunity for many reasons – we have match-winners with both bat and ball, more than we’ve ever had in the top five. The key changes we have in this line-up are that we’ve got attacking bowling, one that can take wickets, and we have an attacking spinner which is a big thing for a South African team.
Rahul Dravid: One area in this team that differs from the other South African teams is that they don’t have that allrounder at No. 7. They don’t have anyone in their top five or six that can bowl medium-pace.
Dravid also points out our apparent problems bowling at the death of an innings.
Concerning the unenviable tag of “chokers”, Smith said: “You can’t get away from it. It’s about fronting up, it’s about dealing with it, it’s about saying – “Look we haven’t won a tournament yet, we haven’t won a knockout game yet but it’s about facing up and winning.”
Of more concern to me is Dravid’s view: “Other than 1999 with Lance Klusener, they had a winning position that South Africa found themselves in, none of the other World Cups they were actually in a winning position. They just didn’t play well, they didn’t play up to their potential and that can happen.”
Please, let this not come true, again?
Please click here to read the full Cricinfo article, particularly the comments from readers, which may get your blood pressure up.