Depleted sides a concern

September 28, 2016 Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc

Australia’s decision to rest a couple of their players for the ODI series against the Proteas is bad news for both sides.

Australia’s resting of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood from their five-match jaunt in South Africa would have been met with some skepticism from their opponents, not only because the Proteas won’t get the chance to challenge themselves against two of the leading bowlers in world cricket, but also because Australia are without five of their other frontline bowlers.

Starc is now, coincidentally, injured anyway and is in a race against time to be fit for the Test series Down Under, but it just adds to an absentee list including Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins, and they will now rely on John Hastings, Scott Boland, and no less than three new caps in Chris Tremain, Joe Mennie and Daniel Worrall.

Starc and Hazlewood’s absences were always going to leave Australia’s resources extremely vulnerable should injuries occur in between, and that, of course, happened. James Faulkner and Shaun Marsh won’t be making the trip either. So deep have Australia delved into their bowling resources, that they haven’t even called up a replacement for Faulkner.

So I dare to think how alarming this could be for the Proteas should they lose this series, and let’s not forget that Australia A, without a single capped international, outclassed a South Africa A side littered with Proteas last month.

It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence into the quality of cricket we would hope to see, and this was of course compounded by the news that the Proteas will be without influential skipper AB de Villiers, with elbow surgery ruling him out for this and the trip Down Under.

Are we going to be able to fill the stadiums, knowing that Steve Smith and David Warner will be the only household names in the Aussie line-up?

It really begs the question: how seriously are Australia taking this series, and indeed how seriously should South Africa take this series?

Fair play if Hazlewood and Starc really did need to be rested in order to be fresh the Test series against the Proteas in November, but it was revealed last week that they will be available for New South Wales in their One-Day Matador Cup. It sends out a statement that Test matches are still the pinnacle, but it also suggests the ODIs are increasingly becoming the unwanted inbetweeners. It’s becoming a regular pattern.

Even their own skipper, Smith, decided to take a break from the last two ODIs and T20s against Sri Lanka earlier in the month. This sort of behaviour would have been unheard of 10 years ago, but it’s becoming the norm.

I mentioned in an earlier column that AB de Villiers should retire from ODIs in order to manage his workload as a global T20 superstar and Test captain more effectively. That’s because ODIs just aren’t important enough anymore.

You might well say win at all costs, no matter how depleted the opposition is. But how much can you read into a series win against a depleted side? With the Champions Trophy less than a year away, it seems a shame that a five-match series against Australia is generating little excitement, given the rich history between the sides.

‘It is important they are managed appropriately and we believe missing the tour of South Africa is the right time for them to take a break,’ said Australian chairman of selectors Rod Marsh on Starc and Hazlewood’s omissions. It’s a sad time we live in if a tour to South Africa is the ‘right time to take a break’.

Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images



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27 comments
Paul Van Rooy
Paul Van Rooy

I only see opportunity and teams forced to introduce new international players

Michael Zoast Jennings
Michael Zoast Jennings

I will watch if i have nothing else to do. In days of yore SA v Australia was not to be missed. I can even recall lugging a small radio on the Otter Trail to follow such games. Now with two watered down sides, who really cares?

Zebi Mokoena
Zebi Mokoena

This is the time where team build depth for future world cup. I wouldnt mind seeing Temba, Dwayne, Theunis and Phehlukwayo. More important its time for Rillie and Miller to push for first 11

Zebi Mokoena
Zebi Mokoena

Albie is 35 years old average 24. With due respect why will you recycle him with those stats? If we were talking T 20 maybe

Arman Khan
Arman Khan

1.qdk 2.faf 3.rossouw 4.miller 5.de bruyn 6.dwayne.. To many whites #racist

Zebi Mokoena
Zebi Mokoena

Hash, Duminy, Phehlukwayo, Rabada. You still within your quota targets

Zamikhaya Mbassa
Zamikhaya Mbassa

i agree Zebi....bt personally dnt wana c rillee rossouw....

Zebi Mokoena
Zebi Mokoena

He has shown lots of potential before it will be interesting to see what he can do when there is no much pressure

Paul Van Rooy
Paul Van Rooy

Miller is only a IPL player. Finish and klaar. Wheres Albie?

Zebi Mokoena
Zebi Mokoena

Thanks for predicting the future, you really blessed with with superpowers

Dhirshan Gobind
Dhirshan Gobind

Lol it's easy with our rugby and cricket teams these days. Sorry for being negative - hoping they do well somehow.

Benjamin Ericksen
Benjamin Ericksen

Rugby maybe, but with the depleted cricket squad AUS showed up, I doubt they'll beat the Proteas.

Benjamin Ericksen
Benjamin Ericksen

I so wish this kid could be the first Protea who gets to a 200 ODI innings

Dhirshan Gobind
Dhirshan Gobind

Benjamin Ericksen yeah awesome, am happy to eat my words. Lue Gift called it. I think we will win tomorrow as well, but next Saturday is another story, lol.

Kaas Van Tonder
Kaas Van Tonder

Surprise, surprise. A POINTLESS, random bi-lateral ODI series is not drawing enough attention and committment. Cricket series attract far more attention if they are given context and planned around Test matches and combine ODIs and T20s. Just having some random ODIs put in the calendar is just plain stupid.

Dhirshan Gobind
Dhirshan Gobind

Extremely well said! Cricket and international football friendlies suffer frmo this.

Norman Masilo
Norman Masilo

ive had to agree with you on that one VAN TONDER

Justus Beets
Justus Beets

Lots of lost viewers. AB and Starc pull big numbers.

Justus Beets
Justus Beets

I know. That's why a lot of people won't watch. He has a huge following and so does Starc.

Justus Beets
Justus Beets

AB probably has more followers than the proteas. The whole of India follow him.