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Q&A: SA v NZ tests & ODIs

We hosted a Question and Answer session on Wednesday morning with senior cricket writer, Jason Humphries.

Thanks to everyone who participated and for the tonnes of questions posted.

Enjoy reading through the answers below and watch this space for our next session.

The question and answer session has closed.

Questions and answers
Pieter de Klerk asked:
Where is Marchant de Lange? and who is our genuine fast bowler back up to Dale Steyn?
Jason answered:
Hi Peter. Marchant is still battling from a stress fracture in his back. He is important for the future of South Africa cricket and will not be rushed back from the injury. As to who the genuine quick bowlers are waiting in the wings Hardus Viljoen and Chris Morris from the Highveld Lions spring to mind. Both men bowl over the 140km/h mark. As we’ve seen against New Zealand genuine pace can make a difference at international level.
Sven asked:
Since AB has become keeper in tests he has made 1 X 100 and a few 50''s over 8 tests. Surely he is too good a batsmen to play keeper with what for him are poor batting results. With AB batting to the best of his ability, do we really need a specialist no.7 batsman. The same no.7 batsmen have not been doing that well either over those 8 tests.
Jason answered:
Hi Sven. I agree with your views. If a top six of Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis cannot score enough runs the Proteas have bigger problems than who bats at seven! I can understand the tactic against the stronger nations like Australia and England but I would have preferred to have seen a specialist keeper tried during the New Zealand test series if only to see if the backup options are good enough to handle test cricket.
Waheed Vadi asked:
Hi, Jason.

With Graeme Smith''s 100 Test Match as captain coming up, I was womdering how long Smith will continue to play as Test Captain? Is there a specific time frame until Graeme hands over to AB or not really?

I''d like to say that this is in no way a jibe at Smith - he''s my favourite cricketer and personal role model. I''m just interested in the succession plans in place within the Proteas camp.

Jason answered:
Hi Waheed. Graeme has not put a date on when he might stand down from the test captaincy and why would you when you in charge of arguably one of the best test teams that South Africa has ever produced. AB de Villiers has obviously been earmarked as Smith’s successor at test level but I cannot see him captaining South Africa in test cricket and still keeping wicket.
JERRY asked:
Hi Neil

Do you think the inclusion of Smith in the ODI team is warranted? I think there are better players in the domestic scene.
Jason answered:
There is no doubt that there are a few openers breathing down Graeme's neck for a place in the ODI team, Henry Davids springs to mind, but Graeme does bring a lot of experience to the team and he has shown throughout his career that he does enjoy a good challenge so I expect him to put together at least one big score against NZ.
Willem asked:
What do you think the plan will be with Duminy when he returns? I know Elgar did well in the last test, but I surely do hope that they stick with Duminy, especially because he gives that extra bowling option.
Jason answered:
I think we can take it as given that JP will come back into the test team as soon as he is fit and back in form for the reason that you mentioned. JP is a more than useful offie and if his bowling continues to develop he can lessen the blow when Jacques Kallis eventually retires as a genuine all-rounder.
Sudhir asked:
Hi Jason
Do you think that AB is really the right guy to be captain? He really does not come across the way GS does,dominant and a very good criket mind do you think we would be much better in ths shorter forms of the game if GS was still captain?
Jason answered:
AB is still growing into his role as captain but he has shown early promise. I think it is only fair that he be given a decent run as captain to mould the team as he sees fit. I don't think Graeme as captain would significantly improve the team.
Leonard asked:
Do you think nz will stand the heat?
Jason answered:
Hi Leonard. Yours was just one of the questions about how the ODI series will turn out. South Africa should win but New Zealand will fancy their chances of winning at least one match. They showed during the T20 series that they are more suited to the shorter forms of the game and they have one or two individuals, Brendon McCullum springs to mind, who have the ability to win a match on their own. I predict a 2-1 series win for South Africa.
H asked:
What are the reasons for the Team spirit being so good is it Gary & Graeme?
Jason answered:
There are a number of reasons for the test team’s success under Gary and Graeme. First of all the team contains a number of players who will go down as some of South Africa’s greatest cricketers. Kallis, Smith, Steyn, Amla and De Villiers are already there while Morkel and Philander are not too far off. The test team is a very mature outfit and Gary treats them as such. Gary understands the demands of international cricket and his approach of less is more, witness the break the team had during the Australian test series and the trip to Switzerland before the England tour, seems to keep the players keen and motivated rather than feeling drained and over-worked. Winning also helps to keep a team happy!
muhammad asked:
Wat are our chances against a good pakistan bowling attack
Jason answered:
I'm looking forward to the test series against Pakistan. Their bowlers will provide a far sterner test than NZ did. They have real pace while Saeed Ajmal is a world-class spinner. South Africa should win the series but they would be unwise to underestimate Pakistan.
bob asked:
Hi Jason.I would`nt get carried away as South Africa are nowhere near the finished article.They are relying on the new ball to get them back in the game and that is a concern as they keep letting teams make big partnerships.
Jason answered:
Hi Bob. I’m not sure I agree with you on South Africa only relying on the new-ball to win matches. Yes, on some pitches, like the one in Port Elizabeth, the new ball makes a big difference but the same can be said of other pitches around the world. Teams will put on big partnerships in test cricket and often it is down to how the bowling team limits the damage during that partnership that will determine the outcome of a test. But it’s not just South Africa’s bowlers that are winning matches. The batting is very impressive and is not only helping to win matches but is also making sure that South Africa doesn’t lose. Faf’s efforts in the second test against Australia come to mind.
Ismail asked:
Hi Jason. The recent moves by CSA to appoint different captains/coaches for the different teams is a belated yet very welcomed move. I have been more inclined to a ''specialist'' T20 team rather than the current (soon to be previous?) scenario. This can only benefit the players as each will not be saddled with different needs by the different captains & coaches. This T20 team if managed well can be used to ''feed'' the senior & more important test & ODI teams whilst achieving milestones for the ''T20 team'' & for younger emerging players without any hindrances & other influences. What is the long term possibility of this set-up being made more ''concrete'' & CSA setting standards/targets for each team individually? Thanx for your time & answers.
Jason answered:
You make some very good points Ismail. It is not just South Africa who are moving in that direction. England have appointed Ashley Giles to coach their ODI team to give Andy Flower a break from the often relentless pressure that international coaches and players are under.
South Africa, Australia and England, to name just three teams, seem a lot more open to innovation and trying out different options in their T20 teams as can be seen by the most recent squads chosen for their respective T20 series.
farad asked:
whats you guys take on Darren smit as the wicketkeeper for the odi games,i think he will add balance to the side,a hard hitting batsmen in the closing overs batting at 7,we have a good top order,with AB not keeping makes it stonger,De kok is still a bit to young,keeping not the best at the moment.
Jason answered:
Hi Farad, I would have loved to have seen Daryn Smit being given a run in the ODI team. He is one of those players who seems to get better as the challenges get tougher. However, the selectors have obviously decided that Quinton de Kock is the man for the future and what better way to groom him for test cricket than giving him a run in the limited-overs teams.
Lorrie asked:
Does a right handed leg spinner, spin the ball into the legs or away from the legs of a right handed batsmen.
Jason answered:
A leg-spinner's stock delivery will turn away from a right-handed batsman while his googly will turn into the batsman
Andre Slabbert asked:
How long will Dale Steyn be able to lead our attack and be so agressive he is 31 now right? Do we have back up in fire when he is not arround pace and agression wise?
Jason answered:
Dale is only 29! But your point is a valid one Andre. Not too long ago there were genuine concerns from Proteas management about who would replace Steyn. But Morne Morkel has grown tremendously while there are a number of quick bowlers coming through the franchise system. Marchant de Lange, Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen spring to mind but there probably isn't a bowler who can swing the ball at Steyn's pace. Having said that there aren't too many bowlers around the world who can do what Steyn does.
rene pienaar asked:
good day. I would like to know if u think if Mclaren will be given a chance in the odi series? Or is he just a backup player ?he is in really good form at the moment
Jason answered:
Hi Rene, it will be interesting to see what the selectors do during the ODI series. They made a point of giving everybody a game during the T20 series against NZ and I'd like to see the same approach during the ODI series. McLaren may not be a first choice player at the moment but he bowled well during the Momentum One-Day Cup taking 15 wickets and was the fourth highest wicket-taker in the competition.
Nkhosinathi asked:
Given the workload that AB has to bat and keep at the same,why can''t we have a permanent keeper to keep? do you have any keepers in you mind that we can use to release AB this workload?

Jason answered:
I agree. AB has had a history of back problems and Proteas management are obviously trying to manage his workload as they demonstrated by leaving him out of the T20 series against NZ. Quinton de Kock looks as if he was been earmarked to keep in limited-overs cricket while I would have liked to have seen Thami Tsolekile given a run during the test series against NZ. Having said that I don't think Daryn Smit or Heino Kuhn would let the test team down.
Stu asked:
Hi Jason. Have you or your colleagues seen Ayabulela Gqamane in action? I''ve only read about him and I see he''s taking loads of wickets for the warriors and even scored an 85 the other day. I''m interested to know more about his bowling - is he quick, does he look a real prospect for higher honours?
Jason answered:
Hi Stu. Ayabulela Gqamane has certainly shown a lot of promise. He is a relatively short man who balls at a decent clip.His height means that he gets the ball to skid on so he is more a Dale Steyn type bowler than a Morne Morkel one. He has certainly shown that he belongs in first-class cricket but his career is still very new. It will be interesting to see how he goes in his second season.
Dave asked:
Is Colin Ingram part of the ODI squad?? i really enjoy him as a player and hope he gets a chance against NZ.

Do you see our ODI side emulating the success of the test side??
Jason answered:
Colin Ingram is part of the ODI squad. The ODI team, unlike the test team, is still a work in progress but team management have spoken of their desire for the test team's success and attitude to filter through to the limited-overs teams. It will take a while but Gary Kirsten seems to be able to do no wrong at the moment so I would not bet against the ODI team becoming one of the best in the world.
Johan Lochner asked:
How are we going to replace Kallis? Everytime he plays we basicly play with 12 men, because he can be regarded as 2 players. We have had many great allrounders since re-admission (Pollock, Mcmillan, Klusener and Kallis), but it looks like they are not made like that anymore, seeing that Kallis is the last real allrounder left in the team. We will have a ''shortage'' in the team when he retires.
Jason answered:
It will be impossible to replace Jacques Kallis he is just that good. But his eventual retirement can be softened by having players who can fulfill two roles. It may be one of the reasons why AB de Villiers has been asked to keep wicket. It frees up a place at seven which can be used for an extra batsman or bowler depending on the team's needs. JP Duminy also provides an extra option as an off-spin bowler. Unfortunately there does not appear to be a world-class all-rounder, someone who could make the team on the strength of his batting or bowling, coming through domestic cricket.
shongwe mandla asked:
if we could defeat new zealand so easy why is it that they always knock us out of major tournaments
Jason answered:
Wiser men than me have tried, and failed, to answer that question. To be fair New Zealand have had some very competitive ODI teams in the past and they are currently in a bit of a transition phase. Unfortunately for the Proteas until they win a major ODI tournament these questions will persist.
Pierre asked:
Why do the selectors keep "resting" Steyn? When are they finally going to realize that he needs overs not rest to be at his best? Strange how he doesn''t have to "rest" when playing 15 IPL games in succession. I''m a great fan of Steyn, but I strongly believe that he does not benefit from "rest". Hope he plays all three ODI''s to be at his best against Pakistan.
Jason answered:
It's a tough one for South Africa's selectors. They have to balance Steyn's workload with also keeping him sharp. There are a number of fine bowlers in South Africa but none of them are as good as Steyn. His ranking shows that there are no bowlers in the world as good as him. Steyn will be rested against 'lesser' nations but if an ODI series against Australia was about to start you can bet that Steyn would be in the squad.
Bonginkosi Ngcobo asked:
Hi Pieter, how do you feel about the South African ODI stragegy of rotating the top order, with sometimes our best batsman in ODI AB de Villiers moving down the order which leaves him with to much to do with too little overs left. Don"t think AB is better at no.4 constastly because he is the best at that position.
Jason answered:
I think the reason for the constant shuffling in the ODI batting order is more down to the management wanting to have a look at different combinations and what works best for the team. I agree that AB should probably bat four but he can also be used effectively as a finisher. It is a role that he might have to play while JP Duminy is injured. I thinki we will see a far more settled batting line-up as we got closer to the next World Cup.
Lohann asked:
Hi Jason,

Why is there no Boxing day Test?

Jason answered:
There were a number of reasons for it including the standard of the opposition and the fact that crowds have not been great for the Boxing Day test. But Cricket South Africa have conceded that the decision may not have been the right one and we can expect a Boxing Day test this year.
Ash asked:
Can we safely say that; Imran Tahir’s Protea dream is over? Are we ever see him again with the rest of our boys? Is Robin Peterson a better offer for Protea?
Jason answered:
I wouldn't rule Tahir out completely. He battled to adjust to the demands of test cricket but he has shown on his return to franchise cricket that he remains a fine bowler. An extended run in domestic cricket may be just what he needs to regain his form.However, Robin Peterson has shown that he is up to the challenge of test cricket while he is a far better batsman and fielder that Tahir. I think it is fair to say that Peterson has the inside track at the moment.

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