The right Proteas ODI combination
Much has been said in recent weeks about the selection of the South African one-day team. In a perfect world, if everyone was fit and the best team had to play in an ICC Trophy match tomorrow, the right team combination could be the following.
Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla pick themselves as opening batsmen. Jacques Kallis will fill the crucial No 3 spot. AB de Villiers should bat at four and take over the wicket-keeping duties. Faf du PLessis will bat at five.
JP Duminy will take up the No 6 spot. He adds further value with his part-time offspinners. Johan Botha should be brought back into the side at No 7. He has been harshly treated and his skill with the ball has been sorely missed. He is a good professional with fine leadership skills and is also a captaincy option.
Robin Peterson will then bat at eight which will leave the best three fast bowlers in the group, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, to fill the last three positions.
This combination covers all bases irrespective of conditions. It will give whoever the captain is several options. Hopefully against Pakistan, the selectors will endeavour to get the best possible combination on the field.
It is time to step up to the plate in one-day cricket and put an end to the inferior and inconsistent performances we saw in the recently completed series against New Zealand. There is an abundance of talent in this country. The players mentioned above are all good enough to embrace the skills required to be successful at one-day international level.
There are some fringe players around this squad who have shown potential. Should injury be a problem there is enough depth to fill the spots of injured players, provided the selectors stick with the same core group of players who will be successful at top level.
Replacing an established player who suffers an injury will not be a problem in a settled, well functioning unit. It is however a problem in an uncertain combination devoid of experience and proven match-winning capabilities at top level.
Surely enough lessons have now been learnt through experimentation and the selectors must by now know the personnel they need to put a winning combination on the field.
Let’s hope for the pride of the Protea that is indeed the case.