Proteas have time to ex­plore – Kirsten

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS

GARY KIRSTEN be­lieves South Africa need not stress about iden­ti­fy­ing their best XI for the World Cup right now and feels there is still room for ‘ex­plo­ration’ in the com­ing months.

The tourists ar­rived in Can­berra last night, and will have one train­ing ses­sion to­day at the Manuka Oval ahead of the third ODI against Aus­tralia. Although many felt this tour of New Zealand and Aus­tralia would be a sort of rub­ber-stamp for some play­ers along with a con­fi­dence booster ahead of the World Cup, Kirsten ex­plained there was noth­ing wrong with be­ing pa­tient about the make-up of the side ahead of the tour­na­ment.

South Africa’s first match is only on Fe­bru­ary 15, and be­tween now and then there’s still a Test se­ries, five ODIs and three T20s against the West Indies that must be ne­go­ti­ated – as well as the re­main­der of this se­ries against Aus­tralia.

“The one thing about World Cups is that peo­ple say you have to be se­cure in your team and squad – that you should know who your XI are. I don’t be­lieve that,” said Kirsten. “I think things un­fold very slowly in a World Cup and you find things out in the World Cup … we cer­tainly did when I was with In­dia.”

If South Africa were to reach the World Cup fi­nal in Mel­bourne, they would have spent more than six weeks in Aus­trala­sia. A lot can hap­pen in that amount of time. “We were far from Kirsten ex­plained of In­dia’s 2011 cam­paign. “We had three re­ally good games, one of them, the quar­ter-fi­nal, we prob­a­bly could have lost, but pulled through.”

“When you’re look­ing for that per­fect com­bi­na­tion, I don’t think you’re go­ing to find it, it’s kind of who is fir­ing, who is hot at the time.”

Right now, be­sides AB de Vil­liers, South Africa isn’t sure who is hot. How­ever, where they do need clar­ity is over the No 6 and 7 spots. David Miller has that berth at six in the or­der and there’ll be a lot of re­lief that he’s been able to record some runs in the open­ing two matches against Aus­tralia.

What hap­pens in the No 7 spot is a con­cern. South Africa have twice opted to pick seven spe­cial­ist bats­men in the start­ing XI – in the sec­ond ODI in Mt Maun­ganui against New Zealand, AB de Vil­liers shared the fifth bowler ra­tion with JP Du­miny. With Du­miny ab­sent, his re­place­ment Farhaan Be­har­dien, has sud­denly thrown him­self into the mix as a op­tion for the World Cup on ac­count of his bowl­ing – which is very much his sec­ondary trade.

There is another op­tion to con­sider, ex­plained Kirsten: “Lengthen the bat­ting or­der by hav­ing an all-rounder who comes in at No3.” That worked with limited suc­cess at the Cham­pi­ons Trophy in Eng­land in 2013 when Robin Peter­son bat­ted up the or­der.

Wayne Par­nell was sent in at No 4 dur­ing the tri­an­gu­lar se­ries fi­nal against Aus­tralia in Zim­babwe ear­lier this year, of­fer­ing an in­di­ca­tion that the op­tion is be­ing con­sid­ered.

As for his role, the for­mer na­tional coach said he’d be work­ing with the team through­out the sea­son.

“My work is largely in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic – I work one-on-one with the play­ers and see where they are at,” he re­marked. “I’m there ... to come as an out­sider and fa­cil­i­tate some con­ver­sa­tions.”

Kirsten con­firmed that he will be work­ing with the South African team at the World Cup. “I’ll prob­a­bly come twice, at the be­gin­ning and then near to the end as well”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.