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A Dream season for the Proteas.

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Post by Biltong Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:10 pm

The South African Test season is over for now, they will return to test cricket in October when they travel to the UAE to face Pakistan.

But what a special season of test cricket did SA have, a 2-0 series win over England, a tough challenge in Australia where the Proteas walked away with a 1-0 series win, a totally dominant home summer whereby they beat NZ 2-0 and finished off Pakistan 3-0 as well.

Their record now stands at 15 successive tests unbeaten.

But it is all about the players at the end of the day, I just want to have a look at the performances of some of them.

Starting with AB de Villiers, taking over from Mark Boucher due to a career ending Eye injury, Mark was sent home before the test series started. There were many question on whether keeping would influence AB's batting.

It did seem to at the start of the English series, but now after 11 tests as keeper since then, he has racked up 907 runs at an average of 60.46, this included 3 centuries and 3 fifties with a good number of forties in there as well.

With 43 catches and 1 stumping for the 11 tests AB will be the first to admit that he isn't yet where he wants to be, but given all the circumstances he has really done a superb job.

What can you say about Hashim Amla that has not been said yet?

Scoring 1321 runs in 18 innings, five centuries and four fifties, those centuries could so easy have been more. Amla averaged 82.56 for the 4 test series, his lowest in any series was 62.83 during the Australian series, he exudes calmness and his batting partners feed off him, their confidence soar and everything seems effortless.


Dale steyn copped a fair bit of criticism prior to the English test series, his pace seemed to have dropped, his effectiveness was questioned and after a season that was certainly not his best he came good.

Taking 60 wickets in 21 innings, four 5fers and one 10 wicket match haul. His average for the season was 20.26 and his strike rate 42.1

Just a phenominal record, in doing this he passed the great Alan Donald and became the second fastest in balls bowled to 300 wickets. "crazy eyes" Steyn has also found his speed again, getting balls up near the 150 kph mark.

"Old man Kallis may need a recharge every morning when he gets up, and perhaps it takes him a while to get going in the morning, niggling injuries are becoming more common and Kallis has to be managed carefully if he wants to make the ICC world Cup in 2015.

But when it comes to performing when his team needs him, he still delivers with monotonous regularity. He scored 749 runs at an average of 46.81, with 3 fifties and 2 centuries in 17 innings. Even his bowling is still effective enough with 12 wickets at an average of 32.00, I question whether he will be around for 2 more years?


The euphoria about Philander's quick start in test cricket has subsided, but his effectiveness with the new ball hasn't. His 38 wickets at an average of 21.13 and a strike rate of 50.3 sounds more in line with modern day bowling figures, but a great foil for Dale Steyn. There is a new devloping dimension to Vernon Philander, and that is his batting, it took a while, but he is sporting a batting average of 29.77 for the season with 2 fifties.

Morkel with his amiable passive personality whi is always the "undercard" for Steyn and Philander has taken 36 wickets at an average of 29.77 and a strike rate of 57.


I don't want to leave out the other players in the Protea squad as all of them have contributed at important times, Robbie Peterson with his 17 wickets in 10 innings at an average of 29.94, Faf du plessis with his match saving century in Australia, alviro Pietersen with his 182 against England, Graeme Smith with his centuries against England and Australia, his phenominal slip catching of 29 catches in 21 innings and yes even Kyle Abbot for his debut figures of 7/29.

The Proteas can rightfully be proud of their season, the important thing is they play for one another, and I personally think Gary Kirsten has been the catalyst for the Proteas to have become mentally tough and ruthless when required.


All in all a great year of test cricket.



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Post by Duty281 Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:39 pm

Not till October the No.1 side play Test Cricket again?! England are going to play 11 Tests in that time!

Anyway, it has been a perfect season for the Saffers, the top order, especially Amla, and the pace attack are the main reasons for their dominance. Can't wait for the series in the UAE, that will test them in an entirely different fashion - remember England, 9 Test Series unbeaten (I think) and then unstuck in the UAE.

South Africa - No.1 and rightfully so. clap

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Post by Biltong Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:00 pm

I think we are now on 12 series unbeaten, was it not for the poor return series against OZ we would have had something like 23 series unbeaten now.

Either way it has been good.
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Post by gboycottnut Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:29 pm

The Proteas may have had a wonderful season, but it was helped mainly through their awesome pace bowling trio with excellent batting from Amla and Kallis as well as F du Plessis (apart from the Pakistan series). There are still question marks to be asked such as can they play quality spin bowling better, can they unearth a more reliable spin bowler themselves and are there backup pace bowlers ready to take over from Steyn, Morkel, Philander should either or even all 3 get injured.

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Post by Guest Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:42 pm

well yh in the seam department there is...

Marchant De Lange
Kyle Abbott
Chris Morris
Rory kleinvedlt
Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Wayne Parnell

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Post by Biltong Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:17 pm

Gboycotnutt.

Since re admission South Africa has a better record in Asia of all the "Western" nations, even better than Australia right through their period of dominance.

When we just started in the early nineties we were very suspect against spin bowling, but these days we are better equipped than Ngland or Australia to deal with spin.

So for me that question has been answered for a decade now.

Of course Pakistan could have the UAE prepare absolute spin monsters if they want, then stack their bowling line up with 4 spinners. Reality though they will also want to score runs, we'll do fine.
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Post by ShankyCricket Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:55 pm

Biltong wrote:Gboycotnutt.

Since re admission South Africa has a better record in Asia of all the "Western" nations, even better than Australia right through their period of dominance.

When we just started in the early nineties we were very suspect against spin bowling, but these days we are better equipped than Ngland or Australia to deal with spin.

So for me that question has been answered for a decade now.

Of course Pakistan could have the UAE prepare absolute spin monsters if they want, then stack their bowling line up with 4 spinners. Reality though they will also want to score runs, we'll do fine.
But don't you need a good spinner too?

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Post by Biltong Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:08 pm

ShankyCricket wrote:
Biltong wrote:Gboycotnutt.

Since re admission South Africa has a better record in Asia of all the "Western" nations, even better than Australia right through their period of dominance.

When we just started in the early nineties we were very suspect against spin bowling, but these days we are better equipped than Ngland or Australia to deal with spin.

So for me that question has been answered for a decade now.

Of course Pakistan could have the UAE prepare absolute spin monsters if they want, then stack their bowling line up with 4 spinners. Reality though they will also want to score runs, we'll do fine.
But don't you need a good spinner too?

It would be handy yes, but let's be realistic, we haven't produced anything other than holding one end up spinners since 1992, it sure as anything isn't going to change any time in the foreseeable future.

SA has consistently been the best team from outside Asia in Asia without any world renowned spinners, we make do with what we have, if one comes along, great, if one doesn't we'll be on our merry way continueing in the same fashion as before.
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Post by Corporalhumblebucket Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:31 pm

Biltong - yes SA are a formidable force at the moment. Telling that while Pakistan could live with them for a few sessions here and there they were then completely swept away.


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Post by kingraf Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:24 pm

It seems every one ha forgotten that we were just in Dubai, 2010. 0-0 it ended with ABDV scoring 278*. I do though, agree that UAE could be our toughest test yet, as outside of the 3-0 procession vs England, these wickets are normally about as likely to produce a result as I am to really get that $1 million a Nigerian Prince promised me through e-mail if I help him out and give him my banking details!
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Post by Shelsey93 Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:53 pm

The series in Dubai was 2 drawn Tests straight after the spot-fixing scandal, 1 of which Ajmal wasn't playing in.

In a proper series I think SA would have something to prove - I'd fully expect them to win, but then I had equally high expectations of England last year and they didn't manage it.

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Post by Biltong Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:00 pm

kingraf wrote:It seems every one ha forgotten that we were just in Dubai, 2010. 0-0 it ended with ABDV scoring 278*. I do though, agree that UAE could be our toughest test yet, as outside of the 3-0 procession vs England, these wickets are normally about as likely to produce a result as I am to really get that $1 million a Nigerian Prince promised me through e-mail if I help him out and give him my banking details!
He promised me the same thing mate.

I think we should fly over there and get our money.
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Post by VTR Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:59 pm

I think SA are well equipped to win in the UAE. England's seamers did quite well there and certainly contributed to Pakistan being shot out for some low scores. It was the rank bad batting that really cost us in that series, I'd back SA with their long batting line up to do better in such pursuits as chasing 140 to win and going on to win after bowling a team out for 99!

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Post by msp83 Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:02 pm

A truly excellent season for South Africa I am so happy to see AB finding his real self with the bat again although I still feel SA should get de Kock ready sooner rather than later and let AB focus on his batting. Graeme Smith scored runs when his side needed it, and led them superbly well. Hashim Amla, well, as biltong says, it all has been so effortless for Hashim. Kallis was his usual self although a bit more inconsistency has crept into his batting, but under Guru Garry, he has rediscovered his bowling impact. Faf has had a fabulous introduction to test cricket, big Vern was superb, Dale Steyn showed the world as to why is he the best pacer in the world at the moment, Robin Peterson chipped in with ball and bat, Morkel has to do some work on greater consistency and also those no-balls. the backup lineup too did a pretty decent job.
But Dean Elgar doesn't look test class in testing conditions. JP Duminy should be ready for UAE, his parttime spin could be a healthy additional factor of interest, but I hope de Kock would be given more chances in ODIs and would find his way to the test team by the time.
Very well done South Africa and Graeme Smith.......

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Post by subhranshu.kumar.5 Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:11 pm

A perfect team you can say. SA has shown the temperament and character and the record also reflect the same. With world class bowlers, allrounder, batsmen, I think it is a complete test team. After Steve waugh's Aussies team, this team proved to be the complete and dominant test team. I hope this form will continue in UAE also.
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Post by Biltong Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:12 pm

I agree in regards to Dean Elgar, he was the one player who apart from hiscentury against NZ looked out of place.
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Post by msp83 Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:29 pm

Biltong who are the upcoming batting prospects for South Africa? We have seen the bowling backup isn't bad at all, how about the batting department?

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Post by Biltong Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:43 pm

Gee msp, not that many established players by my reckoning.

Quinton de Kock in my view is by far the most naturally talented.

Stiaan van Zyl is another option, Riley Rossouw is another youngster, and thatis pretty much it, these three average mid forties at least in their respectvie careers.

If you asked me Quinton de Kock is the most obvious one.
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Post by Shelsey93 Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:24 pm

In SA and seam-friendly away conditions I can see them moving towards playing four seamers (Steyn, Philander, Morkel, de Lange/ Abbott) and using just Duminy to bowl spin.

Alviro's scores aren't great for the last few Tests but all good sides should be consistent in selection and so he deserves his place for at least the UAE tour.

I think Elgar's a fair player but his role is confused. He's a top order batsman and unsuited to 6/7 where he either has to score quickly himself or rotate the strike to someone else to score quickly (this is Root's strength at 6: although not a particularly big-hitter himself, he's very good at rotating the strike - if KP's in full swing he's a good guy to have at the other end).

Thus, ideally the first XI should be:

Smith, Petersen, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers (wk), Duminy, du Plessis, Philander, Steyn, Abbott/ de Lange, Morkel.

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Post by kingraf Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:39 pm

I have had a massive week, Biltong. My ID won the Irish lottery, while my sim card won the Mongolian (I kid you not). I had a pretty intoxicated December, so I guess I enter foreign lotteries when inebriated :-D

There are a few, none seem to be the batting equivalent of Philander, though.
Andrew Puttick averages about 40 opening. Jacques Rudolph still has a decent FC record, both at county and home. Stephen Cook averages about 38, but he has been pretty good last three or four seasons. Quinton de Kock averages 55+ and he can keep. Scored a sensational 196 a few months back, and has started putting in serious hours at practise. JP Duminy averages around 50 at FC level. Khaya Zondo doesnt have the numbers yet, but he too is beginning to blossom with the bat, as is Themba Bavuma.
w
Ayanda Gqimane is probably a season away from a call-up. Chris Morris probably would have had one if his body wasnt so iffy. Kleinveldt had proven to be a capable squad player. Abbot pretty much did all he could to state his case. Hardus Viljoen had a decent second half of the FC season. Marchant de Lange should be back to full fitness next time the Test squad convenes. Tsotsobe, too probably deserves a second shot at Test cricket, as he has learned to get the ball angling back.

on the keeping front, Tsolekile stuck his head down and batted really well during the seasln while producing typically able glovework. Dane Vilas is slightly less skilled as a gloveman, but is probably worth about 7 runs more as a batsman. de Kock is also a blooming talent, he is working harder on his glovework with Ray Jennings. you could probably make a decent Emerging tour squad with these guys.

Andrew Puttick
Stephen Cook (openers)
Quinton de Kock (top 6)
Jacques Rudolph
JP duminy
Khaya Zondo
Riley Russow
Thami Tsolekile (C)
Dane Vilas
Chris Morris
Ayanda Gqimane
Marchant de Lange
Lonwabo Tsotobe


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Post by kingraf Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:42 pm

Elgars lack of shots vs spin make him a very bad choice of number 7. JP is a much better bat at 5,6 & 7.
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