I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Protea’s T20 side over the past few months. I haven’t said much, knowing there’s a world T20 competition on the horizon, I wanted to watch as many games as possible to see if we actually have a chance of beating India, the outright favourites for the competition. I think we can beat them – if we select form players, and not players who scored runs a few years ago.
Lets start up top. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla are opening batsmen. AB de Villiers is not. I don’t buy the argument for one second that “AB is our best batsmen, so he must face the most balls”. He’s not an opener, so he probably won’t be facing many balls if he opens. De Kock and Amla are two quality openers, so there should be no decision to make, they can, and should, be given the job. Another thing I don’t buy is that Hash is not a T20 player. Bollocks. He averages 30 and has a strike rate of 128. (For the record, our “superstar slogger” AB de Villiers has a strike rate of 128!). Hash calms things down, can bat through the 20 overs and is a match winner. If he bats through, scores 100 and we post 200+, we’ll win more games than we lose. Quinny is a firecracker on the other end – he’ll take the attack to the bowlers in the power play. He too is a match winner – if he bats for 13-15 overs, we win!
At three and four we will have AB and Faf. They can be flexible in their positions. If a wicket goes down early, Faf can come in to steady the ship, if the openers bat for 10+ overs, send AB in to post a monster score. Faf is in form, AB is….. well, AB.
Position five and six. Now this is where things get contentious. It’s no secret that I am Rilee Rossouw’s biggest fan, he can do no wrong in my eyes and I feel he should have a cemented place in the Test side and ODI side, but for now…. for right now, for just this month – I’d select JP Duminy and David Miller at five and six. That hurt to say, but the fact is – I want the Protea’s to win a World Cup more than I want to see Rilee in the side. Based on facts and form, JP needs to get the nod. He never seems to be in form, and we’re all constantly slating him, but in the last four months, we’ve played seven T20’s. JP has scored 68*, 30*, 23, 5, 14, 1* and 67. That’s an average of 52. Quite astonishing, and I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see the stats myself. Three of those innings were on the sub-continent, the 68*, 30* and the 67. Rilee has scored between 11 and 38 runs in his last six games, averaging 21. Miller is just destructive. He can rip any bowling attack apart, so to me, he’s our perfect number six. He averages 32 in his last six games, but most importantly, has an average strike rate of 160 in those games. phenomenal.
The all-rounder position, I’d give to Chris Morris over David Wiese. Both average just about 10 with the bat and around 20 with the ball, there’s not too much to separate these two. I’d give the place to Morris purely because he has that Aussie look and feel to him. Wiese seems to run in and just do his job, where Morris has that look of pure hatred for losing, like he’d rather cut off his bowling arm than lose a match. I like that! He’s also a match winner, as we’ve seen before.
The bowlers, to me – pick themselves. Imran Tahir gets away with his one bad ball an over in T20’s as the batsmen often go after him. We’ve all seen Immy get batsmen out caught on the boundary with these deliveries. When he’s on song, he’s just brilliant, another real match winner. He also loves wrapping up a tail.
Dale Steyn provides us with experience, and while I was the first to question if he’s still “got it” after his injury, he’s proved that he does. He’s looking sharp, he’s swinging it and he looks like he has that fire in his belly to bring us home that trophy.
Kagiso Rabada is probably the most obvious pick in this side. Young, quick, scary and seems to have a bit of bottle when it comes to pressure.
Lastly, Kyle Abbott needs to be in our side. While Rabada provides raw pace at the back end, bowling needs partnerships too. And Abbott, to me, is the best death bowler we have in the country. He has the ability to bowl six yorkers and over, and that’s what we need.
So that’s my opinion on who should be our starting 11 for the World Cup. Six regular batsmen, an all-rounder and 4 bowlers. In theory, seven batsmen and five bowlers, six if he need to squeeze a few out of Duminy on the turning wickets.
I’m sure I’ll get a lot of grief for selecting JP, but can you really disagree with the facts about his form? Especially in the sun-continent.
Who’s in your starting XI?