South Africa have been embarrassed in the final group match of the inaugural Twenty20 championships. Eric Simons might have an ironic smile on his face as this defeat brings back memories of the heartbreaking 2003 exit.
After the 2003 debacle, Shaun Pollock resigned as captain and Pat Symcox stood down as a selector. In this instance the stakes aren’t as high as this format of the game doesn’t hold as much weight in the eyes of cricketers and the fans in comparison to the other formats.
South Africa have only themselves to blame. At the interval there is no doubt in my mind that the coach and captain would have been aware of the minimum required to get to the semi-final. The all important figure was 126 off 120 balls, by no means a tough ask, yet if you watched the match you would have thought differently.
South Africa started off badly with the three specialist batsmen in the squad sent packing with twelve runs on the board. This brought the all rounders to rescue the game and at this stage it should be stressed that 126 would have been the victory target although it didn’t seem the case.
Boucher and Morkel rescued the side from a disgusting 31/5 to take them closer to qualifying before Boucher was dismissed. This left SA needing 26 runs off 20 balls and 4 wickets in hand to qualify. Whilst this isn’t the easiest task it certainly was obtainable yet they managed 16 runs, 4 of which were to Ntini the only batsman to score faster than a run a ball.
It was a pathetic display from the Proteas, who now are firmly in the driving seat as a nation of chokers in the important games. There is nothing more to say about this the guys weren’t good enough and it certainly isn’t in the talent department, SA have some of the most talented players in the world. The mindset is all wrong, and this needs to be addressed quickly. There is a saying that the rot starts from the top, is this true about SA cricket??
SA take on West Indies in the first match of the inaugural world Twenty20 Tournament and the home side are favorites to win this game. West Indies are missing Brian Lara and don’t have the firepower they used to. However they are fighters and it won’t be easy for SA to win this game. There will need to be disciplined bowling which is expected from Pollock however Ntini has been struggling recently and Nel got smashed in the warm up game against Sri Lanka.
The batting line up is definitely South Africa strength however the saying you only as strong as your weakest link is prevalent in this format and the undecided bowling attack could cause South Africa to chase a few more runs than they should.
South Africa should give the fans something to cheer about tomorrow night but the West Indies are by no means going to be walked over. The men to watch for SA aside from the usual suspects are the Morkels and Philander.
The West Indies will rely on Gayle and Powell to make an impact tomorrow.
Jacques Kallis has refused to reconsider being the South African vice-captain, however he has committed himself to South African cricket in the future.
Andrew Hall has indicated that he is not interested in playing cricket for South Africa again and there is a strong possibility he will join the new Indian Cricket League (ICL) along with Boje and Klusener.
Loots Bosman has hit out at the national coach, Mickey Arthur calling him a liar and questioning his decision to drop him from the squad. Bosman stated “”I am tired of the lying, I am fine, ask my physiotherapist in Bloemfontein who treated me last week. I am very, very, disappointed. Mickey tells too many lies.” According to the Beeld newspaper.
Andre Nel has been selected for the 20/20 competition after SA lose a specialist batsman
Ryan Mclaren seems keen to sign up to play for England along with Vaughn van Jaarsveld while Garnet Kruger has turned his back on SA cricket accusing them of not picking players of colour in the side after selecting them for the squad – this might well be shown again in the Pro20 matches
These are just a few of the problems in South African cricket at the moment
Andre Nel has been called up to replace the injured Bosman in the World Twenty20 Championships. This comes to many as surprise. The first reason being that SA lost a specialist batsman and if the side was envisioned as being a balanced one with regard to batsman and bowlers immediately one can assume that another top order batsman would be called up.
The second reason is the issue of meeting quota targets. The target of seven was met before Bosman was injured and it seems there is no one of colour suitable to replace him. This is not the case and Hashim Amla after a massive century in Zimbabwe and a good domestic limited over season would have been thinking he had a real chance of getting the nod. Alviro Petersen is another player who fits the credentials perfectly and is an attacking option that South Africa will explore in the future.
Jacques Kallis might have been considered but if he was selected the selectors would have gone back on their reason for leaving him out. Effectively Kallis was never going to be chosen after the whole debacle.
Bosman has lashed out at the coach claiming he is fine to play and accusing him of telling lies. It is very convenient for Arthur to have the opportunity to rectify the squad. As seen in Zimbabwe, the SA opening attack that has been relied on for many years is slowly losing its threat, while the backup in the form of van der Wath, Philander and the Morkels might not have enough firepower to contain the talent of the other sides.
Andre Nel might not be everybody’s cup of tea but he plays with his heart and can get the ball in the right places and if he does that in this form he could be inexpensive whilst picking up some wickets. I think it has strengthened the squad – I am huge fan of Bosman and am frustrated by his absence. For South Africa to win the tournament they need to defend the runs they put on the board and Nel could very well be the missing piece in the selection puzzle.