Pick­ing the best of Proteas ODI

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE -

In pick­ing a mid­dle or­der for the best Proteas ODI team post iso­la­tion, “flex­i­bil­ity” should al­ways be kept in mind. This quar­tet can shift around, es­pe­cially No 3 and 4 in the or­der. Tac­tics or gut feel, it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter as long as those in charge keep an open mind. Stu­art Hess looks at the best Proteas in the mid­dle or­der (and at No 3).

Mid­dle or­der (in­clud­ing No 3) Her­schelle Gibbs:

His best (and most fa­mous) in­nings came at first drop against Aus­tralia at the Wan­der­ers in 2006. Gibbs was of course a prodi­gious opener as well, so slot­ting in here won’t ham­per the side. As was the case with the Test team, Gibbs’ flam­boy­ance masked a real tough­ness in his game. That is clearly il­lus­trated in his World Cup record – 25 matches, 1 067 runs at an av­er­age of 56.15.

Jac­ques Kal­lis:

A bit more stoic than some of his team­mates in this line-up, but that’s okay. This team needs a rock in the mid­dle or­der and Kal­lis can pro­vide that. Could cer­tainly open his shoul­ders when the oc­ca­sion de­manded, and of course his bowl­ing pro­vides an ex­tra tool for the cap­tain.

AB de Vil­liers:

Just couldn’t leave him out of this line-up. De Vil­liers is the fifth high­est run-scorer of all time at World Cups, and of the top 10 run mak­ers at cricket’s main one-day tour­na­ment, his World Cup av­er­age of 63.52 is the high­est – yup higher than Sachin Ten­dulkar, Ricky Ponting, Vi­rat Kohli and even Sir Viv Richards. He rev­o­lu­tionised one-day bat­ting by us­ing ev­ery part of the crease, while in­vent­ing new ar­eas in which to score. An ace in the field, and if Quin­ton de Kock doesn’t feel like it, De Vil­liers will keep wicket as well.

Jonty Rhodes:

The first to per­fect the re­verse sweep. Com­ing in at No 6, his run­ning be­tween wick­ets will be cru­cial in the lat­ter stages and he didn’t lack for power ei­ther. He en­joyed some won­der­ful bat­tles against Aus­tralia and an over­all av­er­age of 40 against them in 52 in­nings sug­gests he of­ten bested a team against which South Africa had some fierce bat­tles with in the 1990s. And then there’s the field­ing. In this in­stance, a Rhodes, De Vil­liers and Gibbs tri­umvi­rate in the cov­ers is go­ing to be a dif­fi­cult wall to breach.

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