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Ken Borland

Unsettled batting order to blame – Nosworthy

Posted on October 17, 2012 by Ken

Experienced 20/20 coach Dave Nosworthy said on Monday that South Africa’s failure to settle on a batting order had been a major factor in their disappointing early exit from the ICC World T20 competition in Sri Lanka.

South Africa lost all three of their Super 8s games to leave Sri Lanka as also-rans, despite being the number one ranked team in the world heading into the tournament.

The batting failed to fire, with the top-order having a dismal time and the likes of AB de Villiers floating around in the order and not getting enough time to stamp his mark on the innings.

“The big worry for me, looking from the outside, was that we didn’t seem to know what our best combination was. I think that we had the right players there, so I’m not blaming selection, but there wasn’t enough consistency or continuity in the batting order, but also in the bowling roles,” Nosworthy told Business Day on Monday.

“The guys didn’t seem to know what role they should play because they were in different positions all the time, they hadn’t spent long enough in specific roles.”

Nosworthy, who led the Highveld Lions to Champions League T20 qualification but is coaching Sri Lankan champions Uva in the tournament starting this week in Gauteng and has also had stints  with Canterbury, the Titans and the Punjab Kings XI, said that the confusion badly impacted on the performances of De Villiers and Kallis, probably South Africa’s two best batsmen.

“AB has to bat in the top three, he opened the batting as a youngster under me and kept wicket. He played freely then and, although he does an important job in the middle-order, someone else can do that and he can dominate from the outset.

“Kallis should not be batting three, he should have opened as he does in the IPL with very great success in similar conditions. We know he’s good enough and he’s better batting up front, the IPL proved that,” Nosworthy said.

The well-travelled coach was also highly critical of the death bowling issue, which he said receives a lot of airtime in South Africa, but nothing seems to be done about it.

“For 10 years we’ve been saying we don’t have any death bowlers, but you can talk until you’re blue in the face, nothing gets done about it. They’re not going to fall out of heaven. Death bowlers need to be identified and told ‘that’s your job, now stick with it’.

“I know he’s injured at the moment, but a year ago, Rusty Theron should of been told that he’s a death bowler and make him a specialist at it. Charl Langeveldt used to just bowl at boots all day and became a very good death bowler for South Africa.

“Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn can do it, but their job is more as strike bowlers, to take wickets. I point fingers at the players, because someone should identify that death bowling is a weak area in South African cricket and say ‘I can do it’.

“You’ve got to train yourself for the job, that’s what being a professional is about. That’s how Lasith Malinga became great, he trained himself for that role,” Nosworthy said.

On the positive side, Nosworthy said the spirit in the team appeared to be good.

“There looked to be a good sense in the side and for that Gary Kirsten deserves credit for gelling them together. They weren’t necessarily a unit in terms of role-definition, but they looked happy and they were always competitive.

“The performances of Robbie Peterson, who played really well, and Dale Steyn, who was brilliant, were the real positives.”

The experienced Nosworthy added, however, that the outlook was mostly positive for South African cricket.

“It’s easy to be critical when they’ve lost, but there’s a good crop of youngsters there with Morne Morkel, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis and I think Robin Peterson will play a few more years too. They should all be around for the next few world cups, we just need to keep the group together and let them get to know their roles,” Nosworthy said.

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