The Proteas must bat Rilee Rossouw at No 7 and back JP Duminy to bowl a full quota of 10 overs.
I’m optimistic about the Proteas’ chances at the World Cup. They have a great shot at winning the title if their best XI remains fit.
That said, there has been some debate, even at this late stage, about their strongest combination. I feel that their batting order is a settled one, with Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and David Miller comprising the top six. The specialist bowling quartet of Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel, Vernon Philander, and Imran Tahir is also very good. There is less certainty about whom should slot in at No 7, and whether it should be an all-rounder or another specialist batsman.
I’ve already voiced my disappointment about Ryan McLaren’s omission from the World Cup squad. He’s a handy bowler in this form of cricket, and can be effective with the bat at the death. I see that the Proteas’ coaches prefer Fahraan Behardien for that all-rounder position. The thinking, at least from a bowling point of view, seems to be that Behardien can share ‘the other 10 overs’ with off-spinner JP Duminy.
Behardien hasn’t done a bad job in this role, but I wonder if the team as a whole is stronger when he starts. My feeling is that when De Kock returns from injury and replaces Rilee Rossouw at the top of the order, Rossouw should be moved down to No 7 to replace Behardien. It should go without saying that De Kock takes the gloves, and De Villiers concentrates on the captaincy.
I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of Rossouw, and I like the idea of a batting lineup that boasts seven good batsmen. You’d back that combination to outscore the other big sides at the World Cup. Rossouw has been good up the order, but he also has the ability to play some big shots at the death of the innings. He should slot in well at No 7.
Rossouw’s inclusion would see Duminy taking on a greater responsibility with the ball. He’s been described in some quarters as a part-timer, but I believe he’s far more than that at this level. He’s good enough to bowl 10 overs, and even if he goes for a few runs, the Proteas will make up the difference with that extended batting order.
That is the formula that the Proteas should employ at the World Cup. Of course, they could be in a bit of trouble if there are injuries. The other players in the 15-man squad don’t boast the same ability or form of those in the best starting XI.
I had high hopes for Kyle Abbott before the ODI series against the West Indies, but his length has been especially disappointing. Wayne Parnell has blown hot and cold, and you never know quite what you are going to get from him. South Africa will take a formidable starting XI to Australasia, but it’s concerning that they have so little strength in depth.
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