I’ll admit it, I don’t care that India are number one in the world – I’m way more excited for the Proteas vs Australia test series. But if our top six bat the way they did against India, we’ll get an absolute hiding from the Aussies.
What worries me most about facing Australia is the poor form of our batsmen. I’d be willing to sacrifice a bowler, Maharaj for that matter, in order to pack the side with seven batsmen. If we’re wanting to go into the game with our recognised spinner, the only other option would be to drop Ngidi, which I’m not sure is a good idea. With Australia coming at us with Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon – we need to bat deep, as there will be innings when we’re 80/4.
Markram, Elgar, Amla, De Villiers and Du Plessis are a certain top five. But who bats six for us?
With Temba Bavuma still injured for the first test, Theunis de Bruyn is probably the most obvious decision to bat at six. His superb first class average of 47 is a far cry from is test average though. He’s only been given three matches, being asked to open the one of them too, but his average of 12 is not even good enough for a number 10, let alone someone in at six. But maybe he just needs more time at the top level.
Heinrich Klaasen has burst onto the white ball scene in the past month. He came into the Proteas side in place of the injured Quinton de Kock, but he got everyone talking about his batting, not his wicket-keeping. In his 60 first class games for the Titans, he’s amassed 3600 runs at an average of 46 and has a highest score of 201. The reason that I would go with Klaasen over De Bruyn is three fold: Firstly, he’s in great form and must be feeling on top of the world and seeing the ball like a beach ball. Secondly, from what I watched in the India ODI and T20 series, he seems like the type of player who’s willing to give the verbals back to the opposition. He loves a scrap, and that’s exactly the type of player we need. Lastly, he seems to have big match temperament. He loves the pressure situations and if Australia have us 70-4, he’d be the type of player I’d like to see walking to the crease. Let’s not forget that he also bowls some off-spin, meaning we’ll at least have him and Elgar if the wicket is turning a bit or the quicks need a rest.
Quinny can drop back to seven. I like him there if he’s going to keep wicket. Philander at eight, Rabada at nine, Morkel at ten and Ngidi in at jack.
I actually like the balance of the four quicks and the seven batsmen. Yes, we lose a front line spinner, but if the top six can score 450+ in the first test, I’ll be happy for us to go into the second and third test with six batsmen, 4 quicks and a spinner, but until then, I think we need seven batsmen.
Markram, Elgar, Amla, De Villiers, Du Plessis, Klaasen, De Kock, Philander, Rabada, Morkel, Ngidi.
Do you agree? Do you think we need Maharaj in the side? De Bruyn or Klaasen? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.