Know Your Game
However it is not the Asian contingent that we are worried about, it is the South African Protea’s that deserve mention here. In their new brightly coloured green and yellow Adidas sponsored kit, as ever, all eyes are on the Proteas.
Currently ranked 4th in the ICC One Day International Rankings, South Africa are not perennial favourites this time around. But much like the English national football team (chokers), South Africa will almost always be one of the favourites.
South Africa come to the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup on the back of some bad form, many have said this has some psychological gains for the Protea’s, who walk into every ICC tournament as favourites.
Pressure off maybe? No ways, Graeme Smith is on his last voyage as the skipper of the Protea’s, having failed to put India to the sword in the 2010 home summer tour and winning his last series on home soil, Smith will be praying that the boys in green and yellow can show character as they did when they came from behind to level the series against India.
There are concerns on the strength of the Proteas batting line up, especially the lower order, we lack a Justin Kemp Lance Klusener type finisherr, this puts pressure on the top 5 to bat well and keep their wickets.
Wayne Parnell and Johan Botha cannot do what Nicky Boje, Shaun Pollock and Mark Boucher could do in the late overs, they are not pinch hitters, they have the heart, but the ability isn’t quite there as batsmen.
Our fielding is also weary compared to World Cup sides of yesteryear, with AB de Villiers as wicket-keeper, we are “Jonty Rhodes-less” in the outfield. We do have good fielders around the park, but judging by the amount of dropped catches and runs lost to misfielding when India was here, the Protea’s will have to pull their socks up.
Bowling seems generally strong with the pace of young Tsotsobe and Parnell, Dale Steyn who is the world’s best bowler is also on our world cup squad, and the experience of Jacques Kallis can never be forgotten. Slow bowlers are in abundance, with Peterson, Botha, Tahir and Duminy, but none are World Class.
The Protea’s squad for the World Cup is as follows, Graeme Smith (Captain), Johan Botha (Vice Captain), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robbin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne van Wyk.
Nobody in South Africa can really expect this side to come back with the world cup trophy, the squad is average, the captain’s lost his way a bit, but there’s every reason to hope that they can do it, especially when we have the world’s best batsman in Jacques Kallis, and the world’s best bowler in Dale Steyn, and a certain Hashim Amla, all in one team…
Opening Protea’s match is on the 24 March 2011 against the Indians of the West, West Indies, who always manage to embarrass the Protea’s in ICC Competitions.