Thursday, July 19, 2012

Player Profiles: England versus South Africa Test Series

Forgive me for drooling like Homer Simpson....

But the prospects of the England versus South Africa series that will be a battle for the number 1 ranked Team in Test Cricket gives excuse enough for my loss of bodily fluids....

Made even more understandable when you look at the individuals in the two Teams, and drool further out of complete awe of the constellation of Stars...

Duly lets look at these names and do a bit of crystal ball reading over their effect over the series


Likely 12

Alastair Cook

I think in the current Age of batsmanship this old style opening batsman is about as sure as taxes. His temperament is Zen like with it being shown in his powers of concentration and stamina that stands out in a time when batsmen struggle to bat out a sessions. With their demise a brain fade or flashy shot away. Cook not only can bat through session, but days as seen in his glut of huge scores which serves to grind bowling attacks into the turf. Allowing his batting mates an easier time in the process

Potential weakness

Cook used to fish outside off stump playing away from his body, but he seems to have ironed that out. The only other weakness he shows is he is susceptible to the in-swinging ball for he falls across his stumps on occasion. Which was shown up by skilled swing bowlers, and in particular left armers in Mohammad Amir and Zaheer Khan showed

Series Prospects

This is Cook's greatest challenge for he has excelled against the weaker Teams, but struggled against more skilled bowling units. RSA are one of those exceptional line ups with such pedigree in their bowling so against the new ball Cook will be up against it....

But with this being said....Cook has overcome every challenge in his career so far so you can see him coming up trumps here

Andrew Strauss ( C )

The evergreen English Skipper is arguably the Teams most crucial man in this series. Not only for the fact that he needs to keep up his batting form after a run of outs that lasted over two years. But also his Captaincy needs to be more proactive in this series against a Team that is on a par with England. Rather than expecting victory to be gifted to England through gaping deficiencies being shown up. This is a huge worry for when England was under the cosh in the white wash against Pakistan Strauss was very much akin to little boy lost about the tactics to employ or decisions to make

Potential Weakness

Like his opening partner, Strauss is very weak against the inswinging ball with him a prime candidate for LBW.

Series Prospects

I love Strauss as a player and for his man management skills

But sadly I think this series will see him exposed for his batting and in particularly his deficient Captaincy

Jonathan Trott

Old fashioned number 3 that is tough as teak. The top three duo of Cook and Trott have been perpetual barbs in bowling attacks for a while now and there is no reason why this trend will not continue. Trott is so resolute and skilled in setting up his innings beautifully by blunting the bowling with his defensive prowess and then shifting through the gears to dominate it. Lethal on the leg side and the lynch pin of the Teams batting

Potential Weaknesses

There have not been any discovered, but it will be interesting to see if Teams acknowledge his leg side mastery and duly employ 7/2 off side fields in the hope of strangling him into temptation and demise....

Good luck with out waiting Trott though!

Series Prospects

One of the best batsmen in the World, and you can see him be the cause of many expletives from South African fans

Kevin Pietersen

KP has morphed into a whiny little bitch of late with his churlish outbursts over ODI Cricket and the Indian Pointless League.

But come this series he still will be the batsman that the bowlers will all fear

Potential Weaknesses

Like all geniuses, KP is indeed flawed and his greatest weakness is indeed himself

Meaning the main enemy at the batting crease are not the bowlers trying to take his wicket, but the delusions, paranoias and Pandoras Box full of Demons in his mind

Series Prospects:

South Africa at home after all the bad Press KP has been getting is like a red rag to a Bull.

So expect him to be a HUGE factor!

Ian Bell

Great batsman, and after his mastery in 2011, I was lulled into thinking young Ian would turn into an all time great.

Then came Pakistan...and spin...and Ian having his pants well and truly pulled down...

Looking totally inadequate in all regards

Luckily for Bell, this series is in England and no spinners of note in the oppositions. Plus you know that the curators will be told to make pitches that in no way favour spin.

So expect Bell to be back to his best

Potential Weaknesses:


Series Prospects:

Excellent player and I would expect him to do very well

Ravi Bopara

How many chances does this batsman that looks like a dead man walking in Test Cricket get?

Too many most say, and he should have had a line put thru his name

Potential Weaknesses

Ummm- just not up to it in any way

Series Prospects

More chance of me dating Billie Piper than Bopara scoring 

Matt Prior

Awesome player in all regards and in truth probably the most under rated player in Test Cricket...

Potential Weaknesses


Series Prospects:

You just know Prior will shine, and in the tough times will be the one fighting tooth and nail leading the resistance.

Stuart Broad

This Blonde all rounder used to be a point of ridicule, but now has become a player of such pedigree that we are now in awe of him

Brilliant bowler with real skill and menace, and a very under rated batsman that has the technique to be comfortable batting in any Teams top 6

Potential Weaknesses

He occasionally gets frustrated in his bowling, but that has been seen less and less of late

Series Prospects

People will talk of Anderson...Philander...and Steyn....

But Broad might be the one that ends the series as the most destructive bowler and indeed very respected for his batting contributions

Tim Bresnan

HEART is what this Yorkshire man is all about

Do not under estimate his skill either for he is one of the best defensive bowlers going around. Doing all the hack work so the rest of the attack can come on in short sharp bursts

Very decent lower order bat too

Potential Weaknesses

None to exploit for he is so insanely driven to squeeze the most out of himself in everything he does

Series Prospects

He will not get the wickets and fan fare that goes with them like others, but he is a crucial part of the bowling line up.

Graeme Swann

Class player, and huge pressence in the Team...

He would be a great Captain too....hint...hint...

His off spin will be a real test for the Protea batsmen, and then his lower oreder batting will be like gold and his exceptional slips fielding valuable too


He has dominated in an age of such conservatism against playing spin. It will be interesting to see how he goes if one or two of the more adventurous South Africans decide to take him on

Series Prospects

Sure as the Bank of England to be a factor in any series.

James Anderson

Arguably the best pace bowler in World Cricket, and in home conditions with his expertise of swing is truly lethal

Potential Weaknesses

Anderson used to be a one trick pony in regards to if it did not swing he was money for old rope. But in recent times he has added seam to his arsenal and is a very smart bowler

Series Prospects

The South African batsmens greatest challenge

And an Everest type challenge at that!

South Africa

Likely 11

Graeme Smith ( C )

In truth, Smith is very like his English countepart in that he is a very defensively minded and tactically deficient leader that in a series like this could have a profound impact on the result. For if he sits on his hands as he often does the English will be more than willing to steal every inch they can

Away from his Captaincy, he is probably the most disrespected batsmen in World Cricket. The way people piss and moan about Smith it is as if he has been a career long failure, but quite to the contrary he has been one of the most respected opening batsmen for well over a decade.

And plundered in England.......

Potential Weaknesses

Covered his weaknesses in leadership

But as a batsman has struggled against the wily left arm swing of Zaheer Khan. So you can bet that one James Anderson with how he hoops the ball might give Smith fits

Series Prospects

I think he will be serviceable, but blunted with the bat.

Then he is crucial with his Captaincy. In a short series, he must lose some of his defensive shackles and back the pedigree in his Team

Alviro Petersen

Scored a ton against Sri Lanka on his return, but I think he will be made to look like a beggar for runs in this series.

Not up to Test level

Potential Weaknesses

Lacks the necessary skills needed for Test Cricket

Series Prospects:

Gone by the 3rd Test

Hashim Amla

Brilliant player

Whether it is playing a defensive rescuing innings or a awe inspiring attacking classic Amla is a treat

A man that rarely gets the dues he deserves, but has greatness as his destiny

Potential Weaknesses

I cannot see one in his game, but in this series against a high class attacking it will be interesting to see how Amla goes against the threat of high class swing and seam

Series Prospects

You just know Amla will fire

Jacques Kallis

King Kallis only averaging 29.30 is England makes no sense at all

It would if it was with the ball, but when you clear your eyes for the umteenth time and accept it is with the bat. 

Well it makes no sense

And you know one Jacques Henry Kallis will be acknowledging this fact too

So BEWARE England!

Potential Weakness

LOL- sorry had to laugh at even posing this query against Kallis

Series Prospects

You just get a feeling that Kallis might be hell bent on fixing this blight on his portfolio of greatness

AB De Villiers

The chief Cook and bottle wash of the South African Team......

What cannot young AB do?

Brilliant batsman and breath taking fieldsman, and now with the sad injury to Mark Boucher has taken over the gloves

The act of Fate might indeed be decisive in the series for it will replace a diminished Boucher with a youngster that many thing could emulate Adam Gilchrist behind the pegs

Potential Weaknesses

A top shelf batsman that has no real weakness. But yet to really prove himself against the very best

And England in England is just that Test 

Series Prospects

I think South Africa being forced to have AB behind the stumps might be the decisive move in their favour in the series

Jacques Rudolph

Interesting player...

For he has the technique and temperament to be a very able Test batsman, but was found out as an opener and now assumes the number 6 position in the Team. Where he has done better away from the demands of the new ball, but still has not fully cemented his place

Potential Weaknesses

He throws away a lot of gook knocks with lazy shots in the 30's. So if you strangle his love of scoring freely he gets frustrated and plays a false shot

Series Prospects

I think surviving against this calibre of attack is beyond Rudolph

JP Duminy

A player of real presence and talent that got found out against spin

But now gets back in the team due to Boucher's injury, and I just have a feeling that he might rediscover some of his past majesty that had Australia in awe

A very useful spinner too

Potential Weakness

Not good against off spin, so his joust with Greaeme Swann will determine his chances in the series

Series Prospects

I just have this feeling that Duminy will rise in this series

Dale Steyn


Need I say more?

Potential Weaknesses


Series Prospects

After a relatively mortal last few years, I think this series will see Steyn put in a master class and again have tongues wagging about where he stands amongst the greates bowlers in the game history.

Vernon Philander

Has been truly devastating taking 50 wickets faster than anyone ever....

But forgive me for raining on Philander's parade but his mastery has been against very weak batting line ups in helpful conditions

So this series against a very fine English batting line up will tell the real truth about Vernon

Potential Weakness

None found of late, but his lack of pace might become a factor as his career goes on

Series Prospects

I actually think the English might sought Philander out a bit and reduce him to just being serviceable. Rather than stellar

Morne Morkel

For such a huge man, Morne Morkel must have mastered the art of invisibility for in the lead up to this series few have mentioned his name and bowling pedigree.

I think they might be yelling his name from the roof tops after this series for he looks a treat.

Already having real pace and menace and been so improved of late

Potential Weaknesses

Perfect fast bowler with real pace and natural bounce. But as yet has not fully lived up to his potential

Series Prospects

The English will be sick of the sight of this quick after the series with him troubling all of them

Imran Tahir

See how good you are at solving equations:

English batsmen, who for the most are very weak against spin bowling being faced with a average leg spin bowler..........

Which flawed entity will come out on top?

Potential Weaknesses

Very inconsistent, and one of those bowlers that bowlers 3 good balls, 1 unplayable ball and 2 buffet balls in an over

Series Prospects

If the pitches were supportive of spin I would back him to be a factor. But they will not, so I think the English will dismember his amateurish offerings


Fortress England is almost impossible to exploit. But I just think South Africa will, and win a classic series 2/1

1 comment:

  1. Ian Bell weakness is Spin? He's the best player of "Spin" in the England team. Yes he's strugled against Warne, Muralitharan and Saeed Ajmal but who hasn't?

    Kalis does have a weakness and it the English conditions when the ball is pitched full. His last attempt, in particular, brought paltry returns - barely a hundred runs in seven innings, featuring five single-figure scores, and resulting in an average under 15.