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Q&A: SA v Pakistan pre-T20s

Senior cricket writer Jason Humphries joined us on Thursday for a Question & Answer session ahead of the Twenty20 series between South Africa and Pakistan.

Thank you for everyone who sent in questions - sit back for a few minutes to read through the answers below.

Watch this space for the next session, and keep your comments at hand!

The question and answer session has closed.

Questions and answers
Waheed Vadi asked:
Hi Jason, thank you for your time.

I have had a feeling for a while that the Proteas are doing themselves a dis-service by not including Albie Morkel in the T20I Side. He is a very experienced T20 campaigner and I still believe that he should be included as the #7 batsmen in the T20 team - he is a clinical finisher when in good form. This isn''t even taking into account the good work he does with the ball.

It just makes sense to include someone like him as it brings good balance to the team.

Has he been cast away completely or is he still in the thinking of the selectors?
Jason answered:
It’s a good question about Albie, Waheed. The Proteas are still trying to identify who will be their ‘finisher’ in T20 cricket. JP Duminy, when fit, can play the role while David Miller and AB de Villiers, in the current squad are also capable of being finishers. One thing that counts against Albie is that his bowling has not been up to par at international level. However, he showed with his 46 off 17 balls against the Warriors in the RAM Slam T20 that there is nothing wrong with his batting. He has been injured so that may have counted against him for the current squad however, he will remain in the selector’s thoughts.
ISMAiL asked:
Hi Jason. The difference between the quality of our test squad & our T20 suad is too vast presently to make any fair/just comparisons. I have always been of the opinion that the test & T20 squads should be exclusively formed where T20 is used as a feeder to the ODI & test teams. Personally our T20 teams, as strong as they are/have been on paper, is still playing catch-up with the other major teams & for this reason i install the Pakistan team as favourites to win the T20 series - a more realistic look based on overall past performances by both teams. I hate sounding so unpatriotic but its the reality as i see it. Am i too far off the mark? Whatever the results, SA ALL the WAY ! Thanx for your time.
Jason answered:
Hi Ismail, I don't think that you are too far off the mark at all. We saw against New Zealand what a great leveler T20 cricket is. I would still give SA a slight edge, just because they are playing at home but I would not be too surprised if Pakistan won the series. However, I;m going to sit on the fence and predict a 1-1 series result
Andre asked:
Hi Jason

Do you think the Protea T20 side should head into a direction of being a specialist T20 team, consisting of a mixture of specialist T20 players (Albie Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe, Richard Levi) and up-and-coming players (such as Quinton de Kock, Morris, Berhardien) as well as a separate coach, similar to the Bok sevens team in rugby? My opinion is that T20 requires a different skill set than the other formats and it will be better if the T20 team has a more settled squad, while test players like de Villiers, Amla, du Plessis, Steyn, etc focus on tests and ODI''s. It looks as if they are already thinking that way.
Jason answered:
Hi Andre. I think that is very much the thinking for the current Proteas’ T20 team. Australia and England are also adopting a similar approach. Using the T20 team to give youngsters a taste of international cricket is a good way of introducing them to the Proteas set-up. It also allows coaches the chance to have a good look at the players close-up and to see how they cope with the rigours of international cricket.
tyron asked:
We all know what a fabulous captain greame smith is... Why don''t sa cricket let henry davids open the batting with richard levi ?
Jason answered:
I think that we may well see Henry Davids open with Quinton de Kock in the T20 series against Pakistan. Hashim Amla has stood down from the T20 team while Richard Levi has been left out meaning Davids is one of the few opening batsman options.
Simbarashe asked:
Do they include test cricketers
Jason answered:
AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Rory Kleinveldt, Kyle Abbott and Robin Peterson were all part of the test squad used against Pakistan and are part of the T20 squad to play Pakistan
Andre asked:
Being successful in all three formats is difficult because of the psychology involved. Tests are longer wars of attrition requiring greater focus and patience. T20s are about instinct and opportunism. Does SA''s T20 squad have the mental requirements at the moment to take on a side like Pakistan, which led by the Akmal''s and Afridi, is flare personified.
Jason answered:
I believe that the SA T20 team has what it takes to beat Pakistan. They will be helped by the fact that they are playing at home and, if they want to win a world title one day, they have to learn how to beat the best teams. Pakistan will provide a stern test which is just what the SA T20 team needs.
zain asked:
Good day sir... For the limited overs game I''ll go with this 15 in particuar order: g smith q de kock h amla ab de villiers f du plessis jp duminy j botha r peterson m morkel d steyn l tsotsobe with d miller c ingram r mclaren a morkel and w parnell in the equation. I just think that we need stability in our odi/t20 team to perform like we do in test and to have a consistent /same core/group will make it so much better Your thoughts?
Jason answered:
I agree with you that there needs to be more consistency in the ODI squad especially. To be fair to the selectors they have used the matches against the likes of New Zealand to try out different combinations and to have a look at certain players. However, with the Champions Trophy fast approaching I think that the ODI squad to take on Pakistan, with Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy to be added, will be just about the strongest team that SA can put out.
Imp asked:
Consistency in selection (shown in the Test team) seems to have paved the way for great success for SA in the test arena. Do you think that the SA team should follow similar routes in the limited-overs formats if they want to improve? No doubt the potential is there from the players, but shouldn''t the selectors also come to the party?
Jason answered:
I have answered most of this question earlier and I think that we will see more consistency in ODI selections against Pakistan with one eye on the Champions Trophy to be held in England in June. It is a chance for SA to win a major limited overs trophy and the selectors, team management and players will be well aware of that.
Derick Williams asked:
Is South Africa still in the process of experimenting with its T20''s Squad in terms of new combinations or have they settled on a squad to build for at least the immediate future
Jason answered:
I think there is still a degree of experimentation in the T20 team. It is an interesting dynamic at the moment. The team provides the likes of Quinton de Kock and Chris Morris to get a taste of international cricket but slowly a set team is building. However, the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis has been rested for the series but if it was a T20 World Cup squad you can bet that they would be in the equation.
Bongane Nhlapo asked:
Do you think Levi deserve another chance in the T20 squard? and what are your thoughts about Farhaan Behardien in the proteas squard?
Jason answered:
There is no doubting how talented Richard Levi is but he needs to work on his consistency at T20 international level. In 13 T20 internationals he has scored one century and one fifty which is not a great return. He will be back in Proteas colours I’m sure but he can use the RAM SLAM T20 to work on some of the flaws in his game.
Martin Smith asked:
Hi Jason,

I''m very happy that they made Faf official captain of the T20 squad, because in my opinion he is a better captain than AB. I feel they must release AB of all captain duties so he can focus even more on his brilliant batting. It''s not that he''s a bad captain at all but Faf is just more calm and collective under the helm and more experienced as a captain, (He was AB''s captain for years at school level) and having three different captains at international level could become a bit much. Any thought on this?
Jason answered:
I agree with you 100 percent Martin. I was impressed with Faf’s captaincy when he was in charge of the SA ‘A’ team last year and I think he will do well as T20 captain. AB’s decision to keep wicket at test level may well have had something to do with Faf’s elevation as it will reduce AB’s workload. I would still keep AB as ODI captain. It gives him a chance to work on his captaincy skills. When Graeme Smith steps down as test captain it would be good to have a few options to replace him as skipper.
Dale Kent asked:
Hi Jason,

Just a congrats to the Proteas for obliterating the opposition in the tests, its nice to see that we have that killer instinct at the moment.

Firstly i am glad that Faf is captain of the T20 side, i believe he will be a great captain but i would like to know what your thoughts are on Faf being named the captain. Secondly at this point i dont believe we should be critising the T20 and ODI side for their lack of consistency because at this point we are giving alot of youngsters a chance and trying different combinations, i believe that we should trust in Gary and Russel and the relevant captains and understand what they are trying to do.
Jason answered:
Spot on Dale. Proteas' management are well aware of the big difference between the test squad and the two limited-overs' teams. It is all about finding the right combinations for the limited-overs' teams and I believe that slowly but surely team management are finding out what their best XIs are.
Gordon asked:
Hi Jason, I am absolutely amazed that Quinton de Kock is not in the group! No flabbergasted! In my opinion he is the brightest youngster to emerge from the franchises. Not saying that he should keep (but that is an option)- recon he is good enough to selected as an attacking batsman!
What are your thoughts on this one?
Jason answered:
De Kock is in the T20 squad and I would think that he is very close to the one-day set-up. It may very well be the case that the selectors don’t want to rush De Kock too much. He has just turned 20 after all but his time will come sooner rather than later.
Gerhard asked:
Hi Jason, one question... Where is De Kock in the ODI Squad? Wicketkeeping aside, he is still better batsman than Miller and Ingram..
Jason answered:
De Kock plays a different role to Ingram and Miller. He has only really been used at the top of the order in limited-overs cricket by the Lions and he is an attacking batsman. Ingram is the type of batsman that other guys can play around while Miller is a finisher.
William-John Mathys asked:
Hi Jason

What is our best XI in the T20 format ?How can we still be a work in progress if we been playing international T20 cricket for such a long time. We need more experience players in this format
Jason answered:
I agree with you that more experience is needed in the T20 team but the busy nature of schedules means that the selectors have to rest certain players at certain times, Dale Steyn being a prime example. But if everybody was fit and SA had to play a T20 World Cup match tomorrow my XI would be. Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Petrus asked:
Don''t you think it is a waste to rest players in a t20 game?
Jason answered:
Hi Petrus, I have answered the question about resting players earlier.
Nico Roux asked:
Hi Jason
Do you think SA should maybe give Big Vern a chance in the shorter format?
I also feel Rilee Rossouw deserves a chance.
Jason answered:
Hi Nico. The thinking with Vern is that the length that he bowls in test cricket would not be as effective in limited-overs cricket. He would then have to start playing around with his length which could have a detrimental effect on his test bowling which is far more important to the team. As for Rilee, he hasn't really built on the early promise that he showed but if he carries on batting like he did against the Dolphins last night he will force his way into a national squad.
Dane asked:
Why is Grame Smith still in the T20 side surely we have better players than Gram for the shorter format of the game dont get me wrong he is great in tests and odi but dont think he is right for the T20 format.
Jason answered:
Hi Dane. Graeme is no longer in the T20 team.
Mr Walter asked:
Hi Jason, what would be your starting eleven for the Proteas in the first T20 Match against Pakistan. I am worried about our spin Department, and I wish Botha was here to assist. What is your view in this regard
Jason answered:
Given the current squad, and the fact that the match is in Durban, my team would be: Davids, De Kock, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Behardien, Ontong, Miller, Peterson, McLaren, Abbott, Kleinveldt. I'm quite happy with the spin department at the moment. I think Phangiso has come on in leaps and bounds while Robin Peterson has become a very reliable performer.
ebi asked:
Hi Jason
who do think will be the proteas best death bowler in this series
Jason answered:
Hi Ebi, that's a great question. SA have battled with bowling the death overs for a while now. It could be argued it was one of the main reasons why they struggled against NZ. I would like to see Kyle Abbott being given the responsibility of bowling at the death. He has done very well in the role for the Dolphins and seems to be able to bowl yorkers almost at will. I would like to see what he can do against top international batsmen.
Corrie asked:
Do you agree with the current situation of giving chances to younger players in these games? Or do you think they should play the best team every time and win these series''.
Jason answered:
I do agree with giving some of the younger players a run in the T20 team. But it is important to note that it is not just youngsters that are being given a run. Henry Davids and Justin Ontong are both 33-years-old. I think we are seeing the Proteas starting to find out what their best T20 team is.
Husein asked:
Recently AB Devilliers mentioned our T20 team is not settled and complete wouldnt we be better off choosing a specialist team instead of filling in players for this format.
Jason answered:
Hi Husein, I think we are seeing a move towards a more specialist T20 team. The unsettled nature of the T20 team is more down to the fact that the few new players have been introduced and given a run while some of the senior players, Steyn, Kallis etc. have been rested for T20 cricket rather than the selectors not having an idea of what their best XI is.
Nkhosinathi asked:
Hi,Jason,thank you for your time to read my Question.

Since the management has been experimenting on the short format of the game,Do you think now they know which players they trust will do the job for us going forward?

Secondly, I would love if you can share your thoughts on the inclusion of Abbott in these series

thank you again.
Jason answered:
Hi Nkhosinathi. I'm delighted that Abbott has been called up. In my opinion he is a better limited-overs bowler at this stage of his career that a test bowler despite his wonderful test debut. I'm glad you raised the issue of experimenting with the squad. It is vital for team management to have a good understanding of the pool of players available to them if the big names aren't fit and I think the current management have done well in trying a few new players out.
Zaid Desai Dannhauser asked:
Do you thin Shahid Afridi will be the key man to change this disaster for Pakistan.
Jason answered:
You never know with Afridi. He has not been in great form with the bat recently but his bowling has been important for Pakistan. But if Afridi comes off with the bat then he can certainly still be a match winner.
Nonki Sululu asked:
Hi Jason 2 Q,this thing of rotation is it really working bcos Kallis& M Morkel were injured even though we rest these players they get injured anyway,so it really working. 2nd Q,this young T20 squad members are they hereto stay or our we using this as a platform to international exposure to up en coming guys for the domestic sides,thanks.
Jason answered:
I think rotation is important especially for players like Kallis. it is important to note that Kallis and Morkel picked up injuries during a three-test series. Test cricket is what SA are best at, at the moment and that is the current priority. It would make no sense to risk key players for T20 games. I think some of the younger players in the T20 squad are here to stay. Quinton de Kock and Aaron Phangiso should be around, at the least the limited-overs teams, fora good while while test cricket also beckons for De Kock.
desigan poonsamy asked:
south africa has done fairly well against the kiwis in the t20 format.do you think they will persist with the same side against pakistan?
Jason answered:
There will be one or two changes with Hashim Amla stepping down from the T20 team for the moment and Kyle Abbott coming into the T20 squad for the first time.
jovan asked:
For how long is jakes still going to play T20`s and ODI ...
Jason answered:
No one, except for perhaps Kallis, knows the answer to that question. However, he has gone on record as saying that he would like to play in the next 50-over World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand.
Ahmed asked:
I think the problem with S.a. in T20s is too many changes in evry game to the playing eleven.
Jason answered:
There have been a lot of changes, some forced by injury and some by the need to rest players. But there has also been the need to try out a few new players, like De Kock and Phangiso, and I think we are seeing that they are starting to establish themselves in the squad now.

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