I am really disappointed that Stephen Cook and Imran Tahir were omitted from South Africa’s Test squad for the tour of Bangladesh in July.
Andrew Puttick is another player who can feel unlucky not to have been picked. He’s been around for a long time and had a good Sunfoil Series.
Cook has been consistent for a while now and really deserved to be there. People point to the fact that he is 32, but that is irrelevant. A specialist batsman in his 30’s is not an old player. I believe Cook could have done a job for us.
I don’t understand Tahir’s omission at all. There is no logic to not picking him. A tour to Bangladesh is a good tour to blood some youngsters, but we need Tahir to play in those conditions. He has been bowling very well in the shorter formats of the game but he needs to bowl 30-40 overs an innings.
Something that has been bothering me about our spinners is whether or not any of them can bowl the flipper? The answer is no.
It’s an essential part of being a spin bowler, especially a leg-spinner. You have got to have that variation in your repertoire. For too long South Africa have relied on fast bowlers to win us games because the spinners have been limited in the kind of deliveries they can bowl.
A spinner is less effective when he can’t bowl the flipper or the top spinner. Is there anyone who can teach them that? A camp for the country’s spinners is being held in Pretoria from 15 June, but what will they actually learn there?
If there is no-one who can teach them to bowl the flipper, we should get someone who can.
Casting my eye to the ongoing series between England and New Zealand, Alastair Cook overtook Graham Gooch as England’s highest run-scorer in Test cricket.
Cook has made some good scores in his career, but Gooch was a better player because he dominated bowling attacks. Cook never dominates; he is a worker. He has struggled in the last few years, but remains a good player.
It’s interesting though that Cook, along with all-time English greats such as Gooch, David Gower and Geoffrey Boycott, all failed to average 50 or more throughout their careers.
Back in the days when Gooch, Gower and Boycott were playing, an average of 40 or more meant you were a very good player. Especially in English conditions and taking into the account the great bowling attacks that those players faced.
Overcast conditions on English pitches are probably the most difficult place to bat in the world so that may explain the averages. Also, there is no doubt that Cook’s batting suffered as a result of his captaincy duties and the pressure that comes with it.