There is much debate as to what the best South African XI is, starting with the final World Cup pool match with the UAE. We asked four SACricketmag.com writers for their view on how the national selectors should approach the way forward.
Jon Cardinelli: Quinton de Kock must be retained, but not as an opening batsman. Rilee Rossouw should face the new ball, with De Kock sliding down to No 6. JP Duminy should persist in that key role at No 7, marshalling the tail. The bowling attack should remain as is, with Kyle Abbott keeping his place.
Jon’s team: Hashim Amla, Rilee Rossouw, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Gary Lemke: The horse has bolted. The same starting XI must now play the remainder of the matches. If South Africa are to experiment further with their line-up in this World Cup it has to be against minnows UAE. It would make no sense to open the batting with a struggling Quinton de Kock against the UAE and then drop him down the order – or out of the side – for the quarter-final. And asking AB de Villiers to take over the gloves for the rest of the tournament negates the fact that he has effected three run outs so far and is the country’s best outfielder. So, De Kock has to stay in the starting XI for as long as the show goes on and he needs to be kept as opening batsman, even if Rilee Rossouw can do the job. It might ‘only’ be the UAE who await the Proteas in the next match, but Sri Lanka are in the quarter-finals after that. That is not the time to experiment.
Gary’s team: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller, Rilee Rossouw, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Kobus Pretorius: I agree that if you pick Quinton de Kock against the UAE, you can’t drop him for the quarter-finals irrespective of how he performs. Since one can’t read too much into the UAE game, I would drop De Kock now and give Rilee Rossouw the opportunity to open the batting with Hashim Amla. AB de Villiers will be the wicket-keeper, something he has done before and can definitely do again. There is resistance to this idea, but De Villiers isn’t being asked to keep wicket forever. South Africa need to do everything they can to win the World Cup. If that means AB must take the big gloves for the rest of the tournament, I don’t see why not. This allows South Africa to pick an extra bowler, which will take the pressure of JP Duminy as the fifth bowler. Vernon Philander, should he be fit, should replace De Kock which means Kyle Abbott gets to keep his place in the side.
Kobus’ team: Hashim Amla, Rilee Rossouw, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Mark Salter: Wasn’t it awful when Quinton de Kock was caught behind in the Pakistan game and as he walked off they played that Fifties song: ‘Got along without you before I met you, gonna get along without you now.’ Painful, but apt. De Kock has had his time. Play him against the UAE and even if he gets a hundred, he will still doubt himself against a more experienced side. He must go, and AB must keep wicket. It is not ideal, but that’s what we have. Drop De Kock down the order and all you get is a specialised wicketkeeper taking up a valuable place. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a reliable all-rounder, but now we have doubts about JP Duminy, which means we have to bolster the bowling. Philander needs an outing after his long lay-off so he can get his rhythm.
Mark’s team: Rilee Rossouw, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.