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Good news for the Proteas

Proteas supporters will take a lot of comfort from the fact that Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis will come back into the national squad for the tour of Dubai where the Proteas take on Pakistan. Although Pakistan have been unimpressive in Zimbabwe on the current tour, they are likely to prepare conditions tailormade for themselves in the United Arab Emirates. It will therefore be good to have the best possible combination playing for the Proteas during the upcoming series.

On the previous tour there, the test matches were played on batsman-friendly pitches and as a consequence both matches were drawn. This time I expect Pakistan to gravitate towards spinner-friendly surfaces. They will feel that with the spin combination of Ajmal and Rehman, they will have the ascendancy in this department.

During the recent tour of Sri Lanka, the South African bowling attack lacked the "x-factor" without Dale Steyn. Although Morne Morkel did a great job in leading the attack in Steyn’s absence, Steyn brings a real feeling of energy and passion to the South African challenge with the ball. His skill and aggression generates a sense of supreme confidence in the South African team.

On top of that Vernon Philander will make his return to the team. Hopefully this time he will get an opportunity in the one-day matches as well. His prowess in test cricket is unquestionable, but he does need an extended period in one-day cricket to showcase his skills in the shorter version of the game. He has indicated that he wants to be part of the one-day group and the feeling is that he will make a contribution there as well, particularly under seamer-friendly conditions.

A further comfort will be the fact that Jacques Kallis will again occupy the No 4 position in the South African batting order. Although at this point, the future of Kallis as far as longevity is concerned is unclear, the steadying influence he has on the batting order will be welcomed by all. Kallis is getting to the point in his long and illustrious career where the end is in sight and we should all enjoy and savour every contribution he makes for the Proteas.

I am sure he will have a similar approach. When it suddenly dawns on a player that the end is approaching, he has a choice of either trying to hang on for as long as possible or to just do his best and enjoy every minute of the twilight of his career. Those who try and hang on for dear life are normally fighting to hold on to their position in the team. Kallis has no concerns about getting left out of the team. He can wind the clock down and decide when and how he wants to leave the international stage.

This is always a good position to be in. He certainly deserves it.

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