‘NZ se­ries will be the real test’

While im­pressed with the Proteas in their 5-0 demolition of Sri Lanka in the re­cent ODI se­ries, for­mer Proteas coach Ray Jen­nings would like to see a tougher se­ries against New Zealand. There are five ar­eas he’d like to see im­proved ahead of the ICC Champ

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The open­ing bowler sit­u­a­tion “[Kag­iso] Rabada is a wick­et­tak­ing, mo­men­tum-mov­ing bowler. He has to take the new ball to move the game for­ward by tak­ing wick­ets in the first 10 overs. The other guys who need to be con­sid­ered are [Ver­non] Phi­lan­der and [Morné] Morkel. [Chris] Mor­ris to me isn’t part­ner­ing well with Rabada. I’d pre­fer some­one who just bot­tles things up and gives Rabada the op­tion to ac­tu­ally move the game for­ward.

“So, we still need to find that part­ner­ship up front. Mor­ris is a good bowler and takes wick­ets, but he’s a lit­tle on the ex­pen­sive side. He hasn’t shown me he bowls up front, but he takes wick­ets. Good play­ers will take the runs off him, but won’t lose their wick­ets.

“Some of the per­for­mances and fig­ures the bowlers came up with in the Sri Lankan se­ries are a lit­tle un­re­al­is­tic. To me, Phi­lan­der would be the top choice. He doesn’t have a good bouncer like Mor­ris, but he hits good ar­eas, which makes him a good com­bi­na­tion with Rabada.”

The lower mid­dle or­der

“The prob­lem with the bat­ting would be in the num­bers six, seven and eight. In that power-hit­ting area, we haven’t seen enough of the South African play­ers be­cause of the top or­der get­ting so many runs.

“The Sri Lankans weren’t able to get wick­ets up front, which cre­ated that mid­dle pe­riod, where Quin­ton de Kock, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis dom­i­nated.

“Against good sides, who should be tak­ing one or two wick­ets up front, they would rely on that lower mid­dle or­der to show them what they can do. We don’t know how good the guys bat­ting at six, seven and eight are.”

The bowlers’ re­ac­tion to pres­sure

“From the bowl­ing point of view, the Sri Lankans did not put enough pres­sure on the bowlers, and the short ball was so ef­fec­tive, a wicket in­vari­ably fell when it was bowled. That slowed the run rate.

“The bowlers were not un­der pres­sure to see how good their skills were, other than for a short pe­riod of time in Cape Town, where they scored 109 in 10 overs and still lost by 40 runs.

“Good sides would never lose from that po­si­tion. Some­times, you need to be put un­der pres­sure and to be able to say we came through a 50-50 game. New Zealand will cre­ate those games.

“With re­gards to the death bowl­ing, the Sri Lankans didn’t score enough runs for it to come into op­er­a­tion to say, ‘those bowlers have good enough skill’.”

The old ‘num­ber seven prob­lem’

“I would think the num­ber seven spot would be con­tested by Mor­ris and Wayne Par­nell, and I would take the guy who’s bowl­ing bet­ter. Par­nell can hit the ball; Mor­ris is prob­a­bly a bit looser with the bat, but he can hit big­ger sixes.

“When you look at the Sri Lanka se­ries, maybe Mor­ris is the bet­ter op­tion be­cause his short ball is a good weapon and, with his power hit­ting, he doesn’t have to build an in­nings.

“Par­nell can play both roles. When he gets on in the 30th over, he has the abil­ity to knock it around and build part­ner­ships. He’s also left-handed, which is dif­fer­ent. I think he bowls con­sis­tently in more ar­eas, but I don’t see him bowl con­sis­tently in 10 overs. In 10 overs, you have to de­liver two or three spells that are there or there­abouts.

“He seems to be bril­liant on the one and loses it on the other. But the other spell is so bad that you don’t know what he’s think­ing. If he can bot­tle that up, you’ve got a qual­ity crick­eter who’s dif­fer­ent.”

Shamsi’s readi­ness for bat­tle

“[Tabraiz] Shamsi to me should have been used a lot more – enough for him to be con­sid­ered one of the five bowlers, even though we don’t re­ally know who the five bowlers are. He’s a wicket-tak­ing guy and there might be a pe­riod where you need to spin it.

“He’s go­ing to be untested go­ing into New Zealand and the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil Cham­pi­ons Trophy.”


COOL RUNNINGS Kag­iso Rabada is good at what he does, but for­mer Proteas coach Ray Jen­nings feels he needs a bowl­ing part­ner who will com­ple­ment him bet­ter


WOR­RIED Ray Jen­nings thinks there is some tweak­ing that needs to be done

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