Proteas need a tor­toise to Rabada’s hare

CityPress - - Sport - SIMNIKIWE XABANISA sports@city­press.co.za

In the grow­ing de­bate about who should be Kag­iso Rabada’s new ball part­ner for the Proteas in one-day in­ter­na­tion­als (ODIs), what with the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy loom­ing, the an­swer may well not be the sex­i­est op­tion.

The gifted but in­con­sis­tent Wayne Par­nell ac­tively au­di­tioned to fill the Kyle Ab­bott-shaped va­cancy in the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka, while Chris Mor­ris has been clear­ing his throat for the same role from the van­tage point of first-change bowler.

But ac­cord­ing to Highveld Lions bowl­ing coach Gordon Par­sons the catch with “Par­ney” and “Mor­rie” is their ten­dency to spec­u­late in the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of wick­ets – code for they can be a lit­tle ex­pen­sive.

“They cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties but they have a ten­dency to go for a few runs,” says Par­sons. “Rabada may be ex­cep­tional but he’s still 21 and learn­ing the game, so hav­ing him and one of Par­ney or Mor­rie could mean the op­po­si­tion is 60 for none after 10 overs.

“It could also be 60/4, but you want that con­sis­tency.”

After won­der­ing out loud about the state of Morne Morkel’s back, (“He’s got the ex­pe­ri­ence but he hasn’t played a lot lately, has he? He’s got the pace, bounce, can get wick­ets and you can’t re­ally hit him.”), he set­tles on the un­her­alded fig­ure of Lions and Proteas all-rounder Dwaine Pre­to­rius.

“If you’ve got KG [Rabada] bowl­ing at 150 clicks and tak­ing wick­ets, a strike bowler, the guy you need at the other end is Dwaine Pre­to­rius,” he ex­plains. “He bowls at around 130, hits his ar­eas, moves it and picks up a stick or two.

“Hav­ing him al­lows you to have an­other out and out seamer like Par­ney or Mor­rie go­ing flat out for wick­ets. We did it at the Lions when he was bowl­ing with Viljoen and Mor­ris, Pre­to­rius makes bats­men play more, swings it and makes it bounce – he is very ef­fec­tive with the white new ball.”

Ea­ger to show that he’s not en­tirely bi­ased, Par­sons scanned the South African bowl­ing land­scape for other can­di­dates in new Proteas sen­sa­tion Lungi Ngidi, re­cent test debu­tant Duanne Olivier, the War­riors’ Sisanda Ma­gala and for­got­ten Proteas quick Marchant de Lange.

Twenty-year-old Ngidi, out for a few weeks with a stom­ach in­jury sus­tained dur­ing the third T20 in­ter­na­tional against Sri Lanka, is prob­a­bly the name up­per­most in most peo­ple’s minds to part­ner Rabada, but Par­sons reck­ons they’re too sim­i­lar.

“We’re all ex­cited about him since the first day we saw him,” he says. “He’s like Steyn or Rabada, the first time you see him you know he’s got it. I don’t know him well but I feel in two years he’ll be a lot like Rabada, who’s now in the top 10 in the world rank­ings.

“But giv­ing him the re­spon­si­bil­ity of lead­ing his coun­try’s at­tack might be a bit too soon. You want to keep him in the squad so he can de­velop by bowl­ing at bet­ter play­ers, but he’s in­jured now and you don’t want to push him too far.”

The ul­tra-ag­gres­sive but laid-back Olivier gets a men­tion on the ba­sis of his “bril­liant” test de­but against Sri Lanka at the Wan­der­ers last month, but the real sur­prise is Ma­gala be­ing roped into the reck­on­ing as well.

“Like Duanne he’s one of those guys that have done more first-class cricket than Ngidi, he’s also done a couple of [SA] A tours. I don’t know whether he can make the ad­just­ment to in­ter­na­tional cricket, but we’ve seen an im­prove­ment in him at fran­chise level. He’s gone from wild and woolly to a pretty good player.”

While won­der­ing out loud if the pow­ers-that-be have writ­ten off De Lange, who in­tro­duced him­self to in­ter­na­tional cricket with an eight-wicket haul, Par­sons also pro­vided am­ple rea­sons that could well be the case.

“Per­son­ally, I wouldn’t pick him be­cause there’s enough raw pace in the Proteas team. Also his skill lev­els are prob­a­bly not quite at the same level as the oth­ers.”

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