Teams who have used two specialist spinners have been most successful at the World T20 tournament.
That is perhaps the biggest lesson we have learned from the first week of the competition, which has been full of surprises.
In analysing South Africa’s two matches so far, I want to start with the defeat to England on Friday. That is probably the worst England bowling attack I have ever seen. South Africa clearly have a very formidable top seven, but it was really bad not being able to defend 229.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I really think having two specialist spinners in the XI is the way to go. New Zealand have shown everyone how it’s done. They have won their two toughest games – against India and Australia – using this tactic and have read and adapted to the conditions they have played in really well.
The spinners have taken the wickets and kept the runs down so far and if South Africa were to go that route I would leave David Wiese out.
I know there are some doubts over Aaron Phangiso’s new bowling action, but the selectors have picked him and now they probably have to play him. It’s a difficult situation the team management find themselves in, but South Africa now move away from the quick surface of the Wankhede stadium and the conditions they will face will be more spin friendly.
Only the people around Phangiso will know if he is ready and capable to play. It’s up to the coaches to see how he is bowling in the nets so the people around him must make the call. They must feel confident that he would be able to make an impact, but most importantly, the player himself must be confident enough to bowl.
There is also the case of JP Duminy’s hamstring injury which he picked up on Sunday. If he can’t play the next game the selectors might be forced to play Phangiso anyway.
It won’t be easy against the West Indies, who are together with New Zealand the only other unbeaten team in the tournament, but it is a crunch game for the Proteas and definitely their toughest match of the two they have left.
It will be very difficult to progress to the play-offs if South Africa lose on Friday, especially since I believe England have the easier run-in of the two teams.
Looking at Sunday’s game against Afghanistan, I didn’t think they would get so close to our total. Dale Steyn’s omission was surprising and I don’t think he has played enough cricket lately to be left out of games.
I think Steyn has to play, mainly because of the psychological impact it could have on the opposition batsmen. His pace will also be a bigger factor on the slower pitches that South Africa are going to play on. I would pick him ahead of Kyle Abbott.
While the bowling has been average, the batting has been excellent and I still think South Africa are on the right track.
If the conditions allow it, they should consider playing two specialist spinners because it will be more difficult scoring quickly against them.