Dale has had his say, now time to perform
South Africa go into Thursday’s test match against England with the least preparation any South African side has ever had going into a test series against England in England.
This is not an ideal situation. After looking at the Proteas' schedule before the first test match and the current inclement weather in England, this situation was always on the cards.
However, this path was chosen by the coaching staff and team management who believe that a prolonged preparation period for important test series in foreign countries is no longer important.
The virtually non-existent preparation period will just have to be enough. The players will have to put that out of their mind and try and be totally focused mentally to overcome this disadvantage.
Even though the two warm-up matches in England were inadequate in the eyes of many the weather has curtailed those as well. This means that the players go into the all-important first test with virtually no game time at all.
As expected, the English press has got the South African camp talking. They zeroed in on star fast bowler Dale Steyn. Steyn hasn’t disappointed them. He has come out with some big statements.
Most fast bowlers don’t really have a filter between the brain and what comes out of their mouths and Dale, at times, is no exception. The good thing though is he can back it up.
Steyn is an aggressive, world-class fast bowler and a real enforcer. He has had his say now, which will liven up the series. It will be good now from a South African management point of view to keep Steyn away from the English press and get him to focus on his job, which is bowling fast and taking wickets. There is nothing to be gained from exposing him to the British press for the rest of the week.
The selection of Albie Morkel to replace Marchant de Lange is a good call by the selectors. There is no doubt that this decision was made with the current weather conditions uppermost in the selectors' mind.
It may not be necessary to select a specialist spinner in the team now that JP Duminy looks like filling the number seven spot. Duminy may well fill the spinner role in place of Imran Tahir, paving the way for Morkel to bat eight and further strengthen the batting.
Should this happen South Africa will suddenly boast a very strong lower order as well as having a world-class top six. This will make it difficult for England to bowl the Proteas out twice.
It will also add another bowling option to the South African lineup. England have gone with a five-prong pace attack in their squad as well.
It may well come down to a pace shootout starting on Thursday at the Oval. This will be fun watching, except maybe if you are a top-order batsman in either side.