South Africa lost their one and only warm-up match prior to this week’s T20I series against Australia, but I don’t think it will have a major impact on the preparations.
All the sides in Australia, whether the Proteas play the state sides or the invitation XIs, they’re all pretty good sides. In limited-overs game, that sort of loss can happen. I don’t think it is a serious thing at all.
Australia is a difficult place to tour. You are on your own. You are playing their country, and the fans and players certainly let it be known they are not on your side. You have to be a well-knit bunch and have a good spirit, good confidence, be positive. South Africa will be a confident bunch. AB de Villiers is confident guy, he talks positively and I think it is filtering through onto all the players.
Despite the loss to the CA XI, Rilee Rossouw got some runs. Rilee has been disappointing. But he is batting down the order in limited-overs cricket, so is getting very little opportunity. He is playing for the team, and has had to have a go from the first ball sometimes. There is nothing you can do about that. He has got quality and, given the opportunity, he will slot in well. He just needs a little bit of confidence and to spend some time in the middle. I think he is going to be okay.
When Faf started in the ODI team, I didn’t favour him at number three initially. I thought he was a good Test player, but he didn’t have the ability to hit boundaries. But Faf has proved everyone wrong and has really come good at that number three berth. I think Rilee is a boundary hitter and if he gets the opportunity early on, with limited field placings in place, I think he can hit boundaries – and technique-wise he is okay.
Russell Domingo, Duminy, De Villiers – they’ve spoken about the World Cup berths up for grabs. The World Cup is not too far away now. I don’t know who is going to emerge at this late stage, I think South Africa are going to settle on the current squad more or less. Five bowlers and Ryan McLaren coming in at seven in the order, with Imran Tahir doing a job, that’s the way to go really. Tahir has been a little bit of a mystery.
But the big hitters, for whatever reason, they don’t read too much into what the bowler is trying to do. Tahir is effective against the hitters down the order. They are not reading leg-spinners or googlies, and he does tend to pick up wickets then. I don’t think, with this short stage of time, they are going to look elsewhere – it is a pretty balanced squad. Marchant de Lange can fit into the equation. He was injured but has come back, but then who does he replace? He has to be viewed purely as a bowler, no batting contribution. The current attack, with Duminy adding some variation, is going to do the job.
As an aside, in the local domestic T20 competition, it is good to see Chris Gayle and the others playing in South Africa. Sylvester Clarke and Alvin Kallicharran made a huge difference to Transvaal’s ‘mean machine’ in the 1980s. These guys now, Bravo and the like, are big, strong guys. Between Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and the others, they’re huge hitters of the ball. It is nice to see them in the local competition. They bring some adventurous play.
Graeme Pollock played 23 Tests for South Africa, scoring 2256 runs at an average (60.97) that remains second only to Don Bradman’s. He was voted South Africa’s Player of the 20th century in 1999, and inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009.
Due to a series of health problems that have impacted on his financial position, Pollock is now reaching out to fans in hope of some support. If you are able to contribute to his Trust in any way, please do not hesitate to call his agent Basil O’Hagan on 083 4124459 or make a deposit, however small, to the following Trust Fund.
Name of Account Holder: Rudolf Buys & Associates Trust
Name of Bank: Standard Bank
Account Number: 281 464 359
Branch: Fourways Crossing
Branch Code: 009 953
Type of Account: Trust Account
Ref: Mr G Pollock