Later on today the first World Twenty20 gets underway. Australia are the favourites, however if there was ever a game where the favourites are not guaranteed of making the semi finals this is it. The unpredictable nature of this form of cricket allows for a hero on either side to march to his own tune without being halted by the rest of the band. In this game all it takes is a player to have one good over with the bat or ball and the game can be won when it seemed impossible.
There are critics of this format and this is justified, it really is not cricket. While this may be true this is where the beauty lies in Twenty20. It is not cricket in the traditional sense and this is the secret. I could easily plant myself in front of a TV to watch 5 uninterrupted days of a decent test match and there are people who think these are reasonable grounds for committing me to the loony bin for an indefinite amount of time, for such strange and irrational behaviour. It is these people – unfortunately it is the majority who think of cricket as an old person’s game, a boring event that’s dragged out over 5 days that will be entertained by the shortest international version of the game.
This type of cricket will have worldwide appeal which will never be lost as it will be exciting the whole way through the game. This form will impact on the 50 over game and as soon as the psychological barrier is broken by the players who will click that they can score 170/2 after 20 overs there is no reason why they cant score 434 – ahh wait that has been done before by a side chasing none the less and strangely enough it was against the greatest side in the world!!!
The best thing about this tournament is that it will be over before most people realize it began. Its set to finish in under 2 weeks and is a huge plus after the World cup debacle.
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.
Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist. Symonds can win matches in this format, he is a brutal hitter which can swing the game into Australia’s favour and is my key man for an Australia assault.
Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright. Luke has had a fantastic time in the English county season and has the ability to murder an attack. The legendary Kevin Pieterson will be looking to prove a point to his old country and should be their top run scorer. Prior also needs to fire at the top for them to post something remotely defendable with their limited bowling attack.
Dhoni and Singh. India will hope Dhoni can blast the various attacks all over the place while Singh could enjoy this format of the game. India has a great all round side and are always a threat.
Bond and Styris: Bond can ruin the top order on his day and they have various batting options but performances from McCullum McMillan and Styris will be vital
No surprises in this line up who the star could be. Afridi has proven to the world many times that he can rip up an attack as well as perform admirably with the ball. A dark horse in this tournament and could easily end up victorious in the inaugural event.
The Morkel brothers. SA has picked a side full of all rounders. Captain Smith is the leading Twenty 20 run scorer, De villiers is an incredible talent and Philander showed he is class in the emerging players tournament. However my pick for SA are the Morkels. Albie Morkel can be termed a forgotten man of SA cricket yet he is more lethal than Hall, with the bat and certainly no stranger to bowling at the death. A few years ago he starred for SA “A” against New Zealand “A” in SA. Morne Morkel is going to be vital to the SA bowling attack. With the best bowler SA has in the form of Dale Steyn sitting on the sidelines – SA need to ensure that if Pollock and Ntini get knocked around there is adequate support and Morkel is the key man here. If SA win one of the Morkels will have a huge part to play.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Malinga. Jayasuriya is as deadly as ever and Malinga can be the weapon in the bowling department with his unnatural bowling style. A team to watch as they can beat anyone on their day.
Gayle and Smith: and co can chase down big totals but it will be up to the bowlers to try defend their scores. I don’t think they have the bowlers to offer much threat in this tournament.
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.