South Africa’s ODI team: time for progression


David Wiese: South Africa’s answer to Zadran

While Dale Steyn has already controversially expressed a lack of interest in the upcoming ODI series against Bangladesh, South African fans are just grateful we get to see us finally play some cricket.

While Australia, England and India get to play four or five Tests per series, South Africa aren’t quite so fortunate. The IPL has already taken over a whole month and the craving for international cricket couldn’t be bigger.

The selectors have to go through the headache of trying to meet the quota requirements before every series. With so many good players of colour coming through, this should have become much easier but they are still making bizarre selections, the most recent being recalling Farhaan Behardien to the side.

Wayne Parnell has been bowling poorly for the past 2 years. He started off with a lot of promise but hasn’t lived up to expectations. Out of desperation, Farhaan Berhadien was recalled some time before the World Cup to solve the fifth bowler problem. And now that both have them failed and weren’t of much use at the World Cup, it is time the selectors gave David Wiese and Chris Morris a chance.

The recent performances of Rilee Rossouw has also created more confusion. After a series of ducks at the beginning of his career he scored heavily against West Indies at home and played a few good knocks in the World Cup. I don’t see how he would play if we played either 5 bowlers or 4 bowlers and a proper all-rounder like David Wiese. Now that the World Cup is over we should be able to give other players a chance instead of having AB de Villiers bowl. So the only other way of fitting in Rilee Rossouw would be to rest Hashim Amla and open with Rossouw.

However, JP Duminy’s performances have also been worrying. He seems to perform in one game and then fails continuously for the next few. It might be worth resting him to play Rossouw in the middle order again.

The good news for South Africa fans is that after the atrocious bowling performance in the World Cup semi-final, Allan Donald has stepped down from his role as the bowling coach. Charl Langeveldt, who currently coaches the Cape Cobras is likely to get his job. Langeveldt was part of the team’s staff as a consultant in the World Cup. He has so far found success, with Beuran Hendricks and Dane Paterson finding success under him. Hopefully, he will do away with the ridiculous idea of not bowling yorkers in ODIs at all.

AB de Villiers may have actually bowled fairly well so far, but let’s be realistic – the day the pies he tosses get spanked isn’t far off. It was a sad sight, especially in the World Cup semi-final, when our main bowlers apart from Morne Morkel were getting hit all over the park. JP Duminy clearly isn’t a proper fifth bowler. The number of overs he bowls in a game depends on how well he bowls. Although Duminy has actually bowled very well at times, most recently against Sri Lanka in the World Cup quarter-final, he’s not a consistent bowler, especially in ODIs.

I have always been against having Vernon Philander in the ODI squad.  His batting isn’t as useful as it is in Tests and his bowling has been very average, especially on pitches and in conditions that offer no assistance for pacers. It’s obvious that one of the reasons he was brought in was to meet the “transformation policy” requirements that CSA has put in place. He has actually bowled well here and there but bowlers like Kyle Abbott are capable of doing much better.

It has been really worrying to see bowlers like Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult bowl so well while our pacers haven’t been at their best. Imran Tahir’s brilliant bowling in ODIs has been a blessing and is probably why we at least got through to the semi-final. The reason behind this is probably the coaching team’s ridiculous bowling ideas including not bowling yorkers at all. Starc was devastating in the World Cup with his inswinging yorkers.

If Dale Steyn doesn’t want to “waste the deliveries he has remaining” I would actually prefer he just stops playing ODIs and sticks to Tests, where he remains the greatest bowler in the world without any competition. He’ll be 36 by the next World Cup and it is probably better to start preparing younger pacers such as Kagiso Rabada.

I have always been critical of David Miller because he did next to nothing in his first fifty ODIs. But for once, the selectors’ patience has actually paid off. He has played some good sensible knocks recently, including an amazing match saving hundred vs Zimbabwe and an excellent 50 after the rain break vs New Zealand in the world cup. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he performs from here on. He has solved the problem of depending too much on the top order, and in a way removed the problem of a lack of a proper no.7 batsman.

Another strange decision was promoting Faf du Plessis to number three after Jacques Kallis retired. Everyone was hoping AB de Villiers would bat at three. However, Faf has done relatively well, playing a few good match winning knocks here and there. But I think he needs to do more to justify his place at three. He has been batting a little slowly strangely. He needs to do a little more and score more consistently. He has been getting better in the last twelve months.

What the ODI team really needs right now is genuine batting/bowling all-rounders. Wayne Parnell hasn’t done anything with the bat and it is fair to say he is playing as a bowler. Behardien is a bits and pieces player who isn’t much with the bat and lacks consistency with the ball. There are two good all-rounders who are yet to get a chance – David Wiese and Chris Morris. I keep mentioning them in my articles. Wiese is a hard-hitting batting all-rounder with a knack for getting wickets. Chris Morris is a fast bowler who is capable of getting quick runs in the last few overs. He also bowls well at the death – a quality we could really use right now.

Steyn has already said he wants to skip the ODI series. While Bangladesh have improved a lot over the last year, resting Morne Morkel would also be a good idea.  He hasn’t been getting wickets as much as he should in Tests and his bowling will be crucial on the flat roads they call wickets in Bangladesh during the Test series. He has been a regular in both squads for a while now and could use a break. He hasn’t been playing much for his IPL franchise but I really want to see how the bowlers in the domestic circuit would fare.

If it was up to me, this would be the ODI squad to tour Bangladesh:

Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Ab de Villiers, David Miller, JP Duminy, Rilee Rossouw, Chris Morris, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, David Wiese, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso.

Playing XI:
1. Quinton de Kock
2. Hashim Amla / Rilee Rossouw
3. Faf du Plessis
4. AB de Villiers
5. David Miller / Rilee Rossouw
6. JP Duminy / David Miller
7. David Wiese
8. Kyle Abbott
9. Dane Paterson
10. Kagiso Rabada
11. Imran Tahir

However, CSA tends to stick to players for much longer than they are supposed to. So it’s likely that the only change would be a bowler like Rabada in for Steyn and Wayne Parnell or Kyle Abbott taking his place in the playing XI.



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