Peterson stakes all-rounder claim

2013-02-24 10:00

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Peterson’s 84 in the first innings pulled the Proteas up by the jockstrap, writes Khanyiso Tshwaku.

All test-playing nations are nostalgic about past glories they will most probably never see repeated.

It’s hard to imagine India continuing to produce the same stature of batsmen as Sachin Tendulkar.

Their first-class stocks don’t seem to have that kind of world-beater kicking down the door.

An all-rounder is a luxury more than a necessity, with Australia and the West Indies without the services of one.

There have been imposters who could not step up to the plate and the irony of middleweight teams is they do have the Jacks of all trades who are masters of it all.

They carry their countries’ hopes on their shoulders to deliver consistently.

South Africa was one of those, with a battery of multiskilled stars dishing out cures for the dreaded 100/5 syndrome.

For the first time since the Lord’s test against England, the lower order was required to contribute to the batting effort – such has been the efficiency of the top order.

Robin Peterson was a big cog in the wheel to win the match – his 84 in the first innings pulled the Proteas up by the jockstrap and it was the difference between the 182 and a 250-plus target.

As the four-wicket win showed, it would have been a tough chase.

Being an all-rounder in South Africa is a very hard act to follow, with the likes of Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock and Brian McMillan.

It is a tough ask for a spinner to deliver as much on South Africa’s pitches, which are not conducive to spin, but he is happy with the contribution he makes.

There was the small matter of Misbah-ul-Haq's key wicket.

“I was just happy to contribute with important wickets. It’s not always the five-for that sets up the game. Sometimes, those one or two wickets the spinner gets can open up the game for the team,” said Peterson.

Specialists have been the key to world dominance and, throughout their 14-match unbeaten sequence, if it was not the top six who scored the bulk of the runs, the bowlers made up for it.

There will be slim pickings for those who can help here and there but Peterson said that for him anything will do, as long as it contributes to the team’s success.

“There are fantastic batsmen ahead of me so I doubt the nightwatchman thing will ever happen,” Peterson said.

“I’ve stuck my hand up to be nightwatchman a few times and I wouldn't like one of my team-mates to get out before the close, but if the opportunity presents itself, I need to know I’m good enough to play the next day if I’m required to.”

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