‘McLaren is ideal for Kallis’s role’

2014-01-09 00:00

RYAN McLaren should replace Jacques Kallis as all-rounder in the South African Test team, said Mark Boucher, who represented the Proteas in 147 Tests and 295 One-Day Internationals (ODIs).

The legendary wicketkeeper-batsman, who was in the trenches in the SA team with his close friend and business partner Kallis for about 15 years, said, “For now, Ryan is the right call. Nobody has really put their hand up to take the position and at least Graeme [Smith, the SA captain] will know what he is going to get from Ryan.

“Ryan is extremely experienced, is a brave cricketer and has a sound technique.

“He also has the ability to dry up one end like Jacques. He will be able to fulfil the holding role like Jacques.

“Ultimately, Jacques cannot be replaced. But I guess Ryan should get first role of the dice,” he added.

“Ryan has a solid cricket brain and he is the type of cricketer that, when given responsibility, will thrive,” Boucher said.

The 30-year-old McLaren came of age in ODIs in 2013 and was selected for a Champions Trophy world team upon the conclusion of this ICC event in June. He was also named player of the ODI-series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

He has played in 40 ODIs, and one Test, against England at the Wanderers in 2010. A vastly experienced player at first-class level, he has scored 3 860 runs and has captured 329 wickets in 103 matches.

Boucher also said he wouldn’t change the SA Test batting line-up much for the series against Australia.

He said although JP Duminy currently lacks a bit of form, he is a very classy cricketer and he will come through it.

Boucher backed Faf du Plessis to fulfil the number four batting role in the Proteas Test team, where he can bat at his own pace and set up stall instead of speeding up the game when batting with the tail.

“I believe batting at number four will help his game. Faf is incredibly talented. My view is that he has not yet touched the heights that he can achieve,” added Boucher.

He said he believed South Africa could achieve their twin goals of scoring 450 with the bat and taking 20 Australian scalps per Test in the series against Australia in February and March.

“Just remember that we have at least four players in the batting line-up who average 50 in Test cricket — Smith, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Du Plessis,” he added.

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