The Proteas should sacrifice Morne Morkel for a deep batting lineup.
Chris Morris’ recent performances (ODI and IPL) makes him a shoo–in for the No 7 position, which leaves Russel Domingo with a lot to think about in terms of selection from an abundance of players ready to fill positions 8-11.
His hardest choice would be to pick a consistent bottom four, and with the addition of a fit Morkel to the 15-man squad, the decisions have gotten more nail-biting for the Proteas coach.
With Morris, Tahir and Rabada walking into the side, it leaves a four-horse race for the No 8 and No 9 positions.
Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo and Parnell are proven seamers, but their selection also means that there are three all-rounders who have proven their batting ability, giving us the option to select a deep batting lineup.
It will mean that Domingo will have to leave Morkel out of the side, but with his experience, and with England pitches favouring pace, bounce and swing, it will be a tough decision to make.
If Domingo does decide to go with Morkel, then the No 8 position will be a toss-up between Phehlukwayo, Parnell and Pretorius.
Who should be the first pick according to the stats?
|Parnell (61 matches)||90||28.54||5-48||5.63||482||21.90||78.24|
Experience and balance suggests that Parnell leads the way as the first-choice all-rounder for the Proteas.
But my argument is not to prove which all-rounder is better, it’s whether to sacrifice Morkel for a deeper batting line-up.
Both bowlers cancel each other out with regards to speed, with Morkel and Parnell clocking speeds of 135-140 km/h, but there is a massive gap between their overall career averages and economy rate. Morkel boasts an average of 24.60 and an economy rate of 4.95, compared to Parnell’s 28.54 and 5.63.
Morkel is, however, still finding his rhythm and speed after a lengthy injury layoff dating back to November last year, and has not been playing much cricket in the domestic off-season. In stark contrast, Parnell is getting valuable game time for Kent in the County Championship, and doing well with both bat and ball.
By adding Pretorius or Phehlukwayo to the mix, the Proteas should make batting deep a priority, as both players provide an extra all-rounder option.
With Morris, Parnell and Rabada possessing the bowling attributes perfect for English conditions, there is no need for Morkel.
With that said, the Proteas should play Parnell, Pretorius, Rabada and Tahir, but I leave that up to debate as we try to shake off our big tournament-choker status.
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