Fans won’t be expecting too much

2014-11-25 00:00

WITH less than two months to the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, Protea supporters should be feeling quite relaxed.

How can that be after a 4-1 drubbing by the Aussies in the ODI series that finished on Sunday? Surely panic should be the current trend?

Sadly, it’s quite the opposite. There is no need to panic as I am sure most people are ­expecting the Proteas to ­trundle along, get through their group stages and keel over at the knockout stage when it really counts.

It may sound harsh, but the time for being nice and trying to find ways to hide the hurtful truth after inept performances is long over.

The media and the paying public are tired of hearing the same old drivel after every match as to how performance needs to be looked at, the right combinations in bowling and batting sought, giving others a chance and so on.

Our captains need to be ­honest and man up to the facts. Admit the bowling was ­lacklustre or the batting ­irresponsible. It’s hard to put two and two together when the Protea bowlers are being flayed around with ease and the commentators are saying we got it wrong, and at the post-match presentation, AB de Villiers says he thinks our bowlers were good on the day.

Someone, somewhere, is watching the wrong match. We are still battling to find devastating middle-order hitters and while Rilee Rossouw and David Miller have had opportunities, they have not dominated and played any big innings of substance. They seem to get so far then become rudderless when they play three dot balls, which leads to a rash stroke that results in their wicket.

Up front, much responsibility is placed on Hashim Amla and the young Quinton de Kock to ensure good starts. If they fail, other than De Villiers looking a safe bet more often than not, the rest blow hot and cold. Faf du Plessis looks good to a point, as do the aforementioned Rossouw and Miller.

Farhaan Berhardien has played one innings of substance and that in a losing cause with the series already lost, and our bowlers have no clue when it comes to decent death bowling.

Kyle Abbott, in the limited opportunities he has had, is possibly the best exponent of bowling at the death and it’s worth asking if we have a decent enough bowling attack to take us through the World Cup.

Dale Steyn, Vernon ­Philander and Morné Morkel carry the load and again, if they battle, it sets the tone for the rest who have no platform on which to perform. Wayne ­Parnell, Robin Peterson, ­Abbott and Marchant de Lange when selected, are more often than not thrown into the deep end and asked to perform out of their skins when they have spent match after match ­carrying the drinks. It comes down to a depth and rotation problem, which was clearly exposed on the Australian tour.

New Zealand

A 2-0 win from three ODIs — the last was rained off — is not a bad result against a side who could surprise at the World Cup. JP Duminy getting injured for the Aussie leg of ­proceedings was a blow, but De Villiers started well and was the one consistent in the batting line-up. Amla made his ­expected 100 in the second game and De Kock was finding his feet in the third match when the rain came. The bowlers all chipped in and looked to have warmed up ahead of the real test against the Aussies.


The T20s aside — we lost those 2-1 — there is plenty of homework to be done before the World Cup. Again, the only hit was De Villiers’s batting as he delivered every time he was at the crease. Amla added ­another century to his ­collection but looked tired in his other efforts, which were well below expectations.

De Kock showed glimpses of what he could do but his habit of getting out when set after a good start is a bother. The ­middle order stuttered here and there, flickering before ­dying meekly and Miller needs to progress to bigger scores. Sixties and forties, when he has so many overs to bat, are not good enough anymore and he needs to take a leaf out of Steve Smith’s book and dominate at the wicket.

Morkel had one great game with the ball but it was pretty mediocre stuff as our bowlers struggled to pin down the Australians, allowing them to get up off the canvas time and again after having them staggering. As for the no-balls, let’s just say it needs more work like everything else.

These are the basic facts. We can only hope they are not sorely exposed come February and March next year.

SA Batting vs Australia

AB de Villiers — Matches 4, Runs 271, HS 91, Avg 67,75

Q. de Kock — Matches 5 Runs 177, HS 107, Avg 35,40

D. Miller — Matches 5, Runs 140, HS 65, Avg 35,00

H. Amla — Matches 5, Runs 156, HS 102, Avg 31,20

R. Rossouw — Matches 3, Runs 83, HS 51, Avg 27,66.

Australia Batting

S. Smith — Matches 4, Runs 254, HS 104, Avg 84,66

A. Finch — Matches 5, Runs 250, HS 109, Avg 50,00

S. Watson — Matches 5, Runs 165, HS 82, Avg 33,00

M. Marsh — Matches 3, Runs 99, HS 67, Avg 33,00

M. Wade — Matches 5, Runs 117, HS 52, Avg 29,25.

SA Bowling

V. Philander — Overs 29 Runs 131, Wkts 6, Avg 21,83

M. Morkel — Overs 38, Runs 230, Wkts 10, Avg 23,00

D. Steyn — Overs 36.4, Runs 197, Wkts 7, Avg 28,14

W. Parnell — Overs 18, Runs 106, Wkts 3, Avg 35,33.

Australia Bowling

J. Hazelwood — Overs 38.1, Runs 184, Wkts 9, Avg 20,44

P. Cummins — Overs 19, Runs 115, Wkts 5, Avg 23,00

M. Starc — Overs 28, Runs 132, Wkts 5, Avg 26,40

M. Johnson — Overs 18, Runs 85, Wkts 3, Avg 28,33

G. Maxwell — Overs 25.1, Runs 125, Wkts 4, Avg 31,25.

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