Proteas must take fight to India

February 16, 2015 Dale Steyn

The South African quicks will need to be more aggressive against Virat Kohli and company at the MCG on Sunday.

I was impressed with the performances of David Miller and JP Duminy against Zimbabwe this past Sunday. What this confirmed is that South Africa have plenty of depth in that batting order. When the likes of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers don’t fire, Nos 5 and 6 have the talent and temperament to contribute in a big way.

Unfortunately, the game in Hamilton also confirmed what I have long believed to be true about the Proteas’ fifth bowler position. I’m still at a loss to explain why Farhaan Behardien is there when he offers so little with the bat and has been expensive in the few overs he’s contributed with the ball.

As I have stated before in this column, Rilee Rossouw should be installed at No 7, and JP Duminy should be backed to bowl a full compliment of 10 overs. I would also like to see De Villiers giving Faf du Plessis three or four overs every game.

Of course, Behardien is only part of the bowling problem. Even if the Proteas back Duminy and Du Plessis with the ball, they will still need to lift their overall bowling effort.

This past week has been disappointing. The Proteas conceded 331 runs against New Zealand in their second warm-up match. I was surprised to see Zimbabwe scoring as many as 277 runs in their pursuit of South Africa’s 339 in the first official game on Sunday. Imran Tahir bowled well for the Proteas on that occasion, but the other bowlers battled.

South Africa have since moved on to Melbourne. While it’s true that the pitches in Australia will offer more assistance to the quicks, the Proteas shouldn’t rely on that. I’d like to see more aggression when they play India this Sunday.

India have turned things around after their big win against Pakistan on Sunday. That performance will give them a lot of confidence, and their batsmen will target South Africa’s bowling attack at the MCG.

The totals in this year’s tournament have been higher than anybody expected. Even Ireland surpassed 300 on Monday when they beat the West Indies. If South Africa are going to keep the Indian batsmen in check, they will need to bowl with more aggression.

India have never been great against pace bowling. While their batsmen have improved somewhat in recent times, they can still be susceptible to short, quick bowling. It’s for this reason that I’d like to see Dale Steyn and the other seamers taking on the Indian batsmen this Sunday.

Virat Kohli showed what he is capable of with that fine century against Pakistan. South Africa will need to take the fight to him early in his innings. They need to keep Kohli on the back foot.

They can’t allow him to get forward. Once he generates some momentum and his confidence is flowing, he can be very difficult to stop. The battle between Kohli and South Africa’s quicks will have a big impact on the result.

Graeme Pollock played 23 Tests for South Africa, scoring 2256 runs at an average (60.97) that remains second only to Don Bradman’s. He was voted South Africa’s Player of the 20th century in 1999, and inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009.

Due to a series of health problems that have impacted on his financial position, Pollock is now reaching out to fans in hope of some support. If you are able to contribute to his Trust in any way, please do not hesitate to call his agent Basil O’Hagan on 083 4124459 or make a deposit, however small, to the following Trust Fund.

Name of Account Holder: Rudolf Buys & Associates Trust
Name of Bank: Standard Bank
Account Number: 281 464 359
Branch: Fourways Crossing
Branch Code: 009 953
Type of Account: Trust Account
Ref: Mr G Pollock

 



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