In the second instalment of a two-part series, SA Cricket magazine’s writers pick their best post-isolation Proteas ODI XI.
Our Proteas ODI XI: The top six
JON CARDINELLI: The Proteas have been searching for the right ODI balance for some time, especially with regard to the makeup of their lower order. My side includes two of the great batting all-rounders in Jacques Kallis and finisher extraordinaire Lance Klusener, as well a bowling all-rounder in Shaun Pollock.
Klusener thrived in that finisher’s role at the turn of the century, and went on to claim the Player of the Tournament award at the 1999 World Cup. As long as he doesn’t have to run between the wickets with Allan Donald – who’s also included here – he will boost the Proteas’ effort at the death of an innings.
Pollock was a talented batsman who may have developed into a world-class all-rounder if not for his focus on spearheading the bowling attack for much of his career. I’d open the bowling with the pace of Dale Steyn and the accuracy of Pollock. The opposition would have no respite when Donald was introduced as first-change.
Imran Tahir is the best limited-overs spinner to have played for the Proteas. Like Pollock, he kept the scoring rate down and took key wickets, and would be an asset to any side.
I’d back each of those four to bowl a full compliment of 10 overs. Kallis and Klusener would chip in where needed to complete the 50 overs.
CARDINELLI’S SA ODI XI – 1 Quinton de Kock, 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Lance Klusener, 8 Shaun Pollock, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Allan Donald.
Our Proteas Test XI: The bowlers
GARY LEMKE: Despite the painful memories, South Africa’s ODI team were favourites to win the 1999 World Cup. That cruel elimination in the semi-final does nothing to diminish that they were the top side in the competition, albeit without the trophy to prove it. Had they won the Cup, they’d have had been feted like the Springboks of 1995, 2007 and 2019 were.
In that World Cup they bowled out hosts England for 103, Sri Lanka for 110 and restricted Australia and NZ to 213 and Pakistan to 220. Whatever people might say about ‘choking’, the bowlers did their part. One of the stars with the ball was Allan Donald, who finished his career with 272 ODI wickets. at an average of 21.78. Only above Donald in the wicket-taking column is Shaun Pollock, with 387. He also books his place, another of the ’1999 vintage’. Then there’s Lance Klusener, who was man of the tournament that year, a hero with bat and ball and he stands at No 6 in South Africa’s list of all-time ODI wicket-takers.
The spinner’s role I’m giving to Imran Tahir who reached No 1 in the world rankings and would be the perfect foil for the quicks in this line-up. Which leaves me with one spot left. I’m torn between the longevity of Makhaya Ntini and the potential of Kagiso Rabada. Ntini’s 265 wickets came at an average of 24.53 and economy rate of 4.51 and Rabada’s 117 wickets at a strike rate of 27.34 and economy of 4.99. Given that Ntini produced the goods for 11 years, he gets my vote.
LEMKE’S SA ODI XI – 1 Quinton de Kock, 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Jacques Kallis, 6 David Miller, 7 Lance Klusener, 8 Shaun Pollock, 9 Makhaya Ntini, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Allan Donald.
Our Proteas Test XI: The top six
WADE PRETORIUS: Because of my Klusener pick to round out my top six, I’m left with a little more wiggle room than the rest of my peers. I’ve found it to be a blessing and a curse, trying to find a second spinner – who can bat a bit to partner my No 1 pick Imran Tahir proved to be difficult. Tahir walks into the team with a strike rate of 32 and fourth on the averages list. A game-changing option and a refreshing change of pace in the attack that is led by Allan Donald and Makhaya Ntini.
‘White Lightening’ has numbers to prove he is as good as we all remember him to be and still leads the best averages in the bowling department. Ntini, a feared strike bowler, picked up 265 wickets at an average of 24 during in a career that saw him lace up on occasions.
Shaun Pollock is another luxury selection when you consider his ability with the bat. A stalwart of the side with 294 appearances and nearly 400 wickets, he is the ideal first-change bowler for this XI.
And now I’m back to where I started, because you could probably throw any 10+ franchise player and still win 8/10 games such is the strength of this unit. But, eventually, I am settling on JP Duminy. His ODI numbers are not what they should be for all his talent but in this position as the leader of the lower order, he would be given license to go big and use his slow bowling when the occasion called for it. A batting collapse is unlikely, but he would certainly add some bulk to the lineup. A look to his T20 batting strike rate (126.24) gives him the nod in my lineup to go with his versatility. A new role may have brought out the very best.
PRETORIUS’ SA ODI XI – 1 Quinton de Kock, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 Lance Klusener, 7 JP Duminy 8 Shaun Pollock, 9 Makhaya Ntini, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Allan Donald
Our Proteas Test XI: The wicketkeeper
CRAIG LEWIS: Credit to my colleague Wade Pretorius for reminding me just how good Lance Klusener was back in the day. But then he may have forgotten that I’m a Durban boy and ‘Zulu’ was always going to crack the nod (despite reducing little old me to tears on the occasion that shan’t be named).
Of course, another all-rounder supremo Shaun Pollock has to be there for his surgical accuracy with the ball and belligerent savagery with the bat.
It pains me to leave out Dale Steyn, but Makhaya Ntini played 172 ODIs and boasted an average under 25. I also loved everything Ntini offered as an impact bowler and incredible team man who kept his troops motivated with encouragement from the boundary that still rings in my ears when I think back to his playing days.
The easiest decisions come when rounding out my XI – of course Imran Tahir and Allan Donald have to be there. Damn they were good!
LEWIS’ SA ODI XI – 1 Quinton de Kock, 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Jonty Rhodes, 7 Lance Klusener, 8 Shaun Pollock, 9 Makhaya Ntini, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Allan Donald.
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ANDRE HUISAMEN: Many people might have forgotten how good Lance Klusener was back in the day. Zulu made his debut in ODI cricket for the Proteas in 1996 and in the following three years he would become a key member of the team that went to the 1999 World Cup. Should the Proteas have gotten over the line in that tragic semifinal against Australia, his contribution would’ve been remembered for ages.
The tough call for me was to pick between Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock for the No 8 spot. Despite the latter’s consistency for the Proteas in this format over the years, I’m going to go with Steyn just because of his quality as a fast-bowler. Partnering him in the team will be Makhaya Ntini. Ntini was a revelation for the Proteas and especially in ODI cricket. He had the ability to strike when the team needed it most and till this day his figures of 6-22 against Australia at Newlands in 2006 remain the best figures by a South African bowler in the 50-0ver format.
Imran Tahir’s spot is also a no-brainer in a Proteas all-time team in white-ball cricket. Tahir was a stalwart till the very end of his time with the Proteas and could swing a game in an instant flash. His void will long still be felt in the shorter formats.
Fast-bowler Allan Donald completes my lineup due to the pace he brings. Together with Steyn and Ntini, this will form a lethal bowling attack, while Klusener and Kallis are also able to chip in with the ball.
HUISAMEN’S SA ODI XI – 1 Quinton de Kock, 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Jonty Rhodes, 7 Lance Klusener, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Makhaya Ntini, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Allan Donald.
JONHENRY WILSON: South Africa’s bottom five in an all-time ODI XI is arguably the most immovable than all other components of this XI and others. Kluseneer, Steyn, Ntini, Tahir Donald it is.
WILSON’S ODI XI – 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Herschelle Gibbs, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Lance Klusener, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Makhaya Ntini, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Allan Donald.