Sunday, October 23, 2011

5 Questions About The South African Test Squad

South Africa squad: Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers (vice-capt), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher (wk), JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Ashwell Prince, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

The Squad is Gary Kirsten's first as the new South African Coach. In truth it pulled no surprises, and saw the welcome return of Jacques Rudolph. Who after 5 years in the International wilderness has earned a recall to the National Team, and assured of a place in the team as Graeme Smith's opening partner.

It must be said that his recall was way overdue, for he is a very talented batsman. Who is perfectly suited for the openers role

Aside from the welcome inclusion of Rudolph, the rest of the squad made me raise a few questions. Which are as follows

Can Graeme Smith Quiet The Boo Boys?

Aside from the controversial Referee in the South Africa versus Australia Rugby World Cup match.

It has to be queried, whether there is a more despised personality in South African sport at present than Graeme Smith.

Obviously he has been held accountable for yet another South African ODI World Cup failure, and then his lapse attitude in the recent ODI in no way helped in his popularity.

How he is viewed at present was embodied in this view

The absurdity of a captain who scratches around his front pad and plays away from his body to edge to slip or edge into his stumps

A tad unfair, I thought, especially when you look at his figures in Tests from 2010/11

12 Tests, 20 innings, 1006 runs, average 50.30, 4 centuries and 3 50's

Not too dusty is it, and for all his failings in the ODI arena. The bottom line is it is a completely different game to Test cricket. Where Smith is a very accomplished and consistent performer.

His critics have remarked ad nauseum of his weakness against a left arm swing bowling as emphasised by India's great left armer Zaheer Khan victimising him. Though Zaheer is a top class performer, and in this series there is none of his ilk in the Australian squad.

People might instantly point to Mitchell Johnson in response to that comment, but swing and Johnson is a rarely seen combination.

Duly expect Graeme Smith to be heartily cheered by the end of the Test series in appreciation of his dominance

Can Imran Tahir Be South Africa's Missing Link?

There is little doubt that Dale Steyn is the best bowler in the World, and arguably one of the best bowlers in the games history. Then Morne Morkel has shown a real pedigree in recent years that makes you thinK that it is only a matter of time before he is viewed as elite.

After that, the South African bowling drops off with Jacques Kallis being a diminished bowling force, and Lonwabo Tsosobe still trying to find credibility in Test Cricket

A huge lift for the bowling unit will be if Imran Tahir, the journey man leg spinner can prove himself on the Test arena.

All the signs from his time in the International arena give the indication that he can. This due to his accuracy and variety of deliveries in a bowling art that has always trouble batsmen if bowled well.

If im a betting man, I think Tahir might take Test cricket by storm, and make South Africa's attack that is already formidable into one that is frighteningly good. In both its threat and supreme balance.

Ashwell Prince or J.P.Duminy at Number 6?

Both of late when you look at their records in Test cricket have struggled mightily, and hardle deserve a place in the Team

Prince: 2010/11 Record- 12 Tests, 17 innings, 419 runs, average 24.64, 0 centuries and 2 50's

Duminy: Last 10 Tests- 17 innings, 301 runs, average 18.81, 0 centuries and 2 50's

Quite literally a case of pick your poison after looking at those struggling records!

Makes you wonder why the selectors didn't turn to a younger player who is more deserving. Maybe Stiaan van Zyl, Rilee Rossouw or Jonathan Vandiar.

In the face of the selection of both. It is hoped that Duminy gets the nod. For though he has struggled with him being so suspect against spin. In the 2008 series in Australia he showed that he has real class. So with a bit of hard work by him, and the Coaches, he should become a very decent Test batsman

Can Jacques Kallis Still Be A Factor with the Ball?

There is little dount that Kallis is one of the best batsmen in the game at present. His efforts in the India series in South Africa in 2010/11 were Bradman like.

Though it seems that Father Time has crept up on Kallis in regards to his bowling being vastly diminished

In his last 18 Tests, he has taken 19 wickets at an average of 45.57- well down on his career average of 32.01.

So it seems that the huge work load is taking its toll on an ageing Kallis. So sense would see him revert more into a specialist batsmen, and not risk injury to him. Through bowling too much.

For even as a specialist batsman, Kallis is on a par with Dale Steyn as South Africa's most valuable player.

Will The South African's Enjoy 'Kangaroo Stew' Or Will The Aussies Give Headaches?

There is so much inspiration for the South Africans to truly flog the Aussies.

Looking at the teams on paper too this should be the reality with Dale Steyn a near certainty to be a wrecking ball through the fragile Aussie batting, and then the South African batting looking very strong.

Though the oil in the ointment might be the conditions. That will be like a bed for the excellent seamer Australian Ryan Harris to lie in. As well as his very able offsider Peter Siddle. Then the shock value of young quick Pat Cummins might be a huge factor.

If by a freak of nature, Mitchell Johnson can find form. There might be even a chance of a Aussie series win.......


Dinner time, and im hungry, so forget the day dreaming and the reality will be a Kangaroo Stew in the form of a 2 nil series loss.

Both comprehensive loses...........

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