Do you think imran tahir will succeed in english conditions.
Barend de Beer asked:
Do you think it will be wise of SA to drop Tahir (if they will,haven”t seen the squad yet) for a extra batsman and part time spinner in JP
No – only if it’s a greentop
Thami Gorolo asked:
I read an article where flintoff said England will win the series ”easily” and today saw Boycs underestimating taheer saying he can face him at 70yrs old. Many english journos are giving us no chance in this series, I think this alone is enough to ignite the fire inside the boy”s camp. So I would like to know what edge do the Poms have over us that makes their press so arrogant?
For the English press, their teams are either the best in the world or absolute rubbish, there’s no in-between! England have been doing very well, so they naturally over-rate them at the moment!
John John asked:
Are this English side really as good as the English media make them to be, comparing them with the Ausies in there prime.Also do you think we will be sharp from the get go as we didnt have any competetive build up?
Lastly will the absence of Boucher have an negative effect on the players ?
I definitely feel this England team is being over-rated a bit. They are a very good side, but to compare them to Australia in their prime is ridiculous! England struggle to win away from home.
The South Africans are adamant that they have had all the preparation they need, so we shall see … they believe preparation is more mental than anything else. History suggests otherwise, but maybe Gary Kirsten & Paddy Upton are going to rewrite conventional thinking …
The absence of Boucher is obviously a blow, and will have affected the players emotionally. It’s up to them whether they use that emotion positively or negatively.
Sean CIllier asked:
Hi Ken, my question is around the addition of Albie Morkel in to the squad. From various articles I have read I believe the thinking could be to have AB keep, Duminy at 7 then perhaps have Albie Morkel at 8 and not play Tahir. The thinking behind this is that Albie has a good understanding of UK conditions and will further strengthen our batting line up. Duminy will then be used as a spin option. What are you thoughts on this? What do you believe is the best route to go for the first test?
Firstly, I am against AB keeping wicket. I believe you need a specialist in English conditions and Thami Tsolekile should play. A team with seven specialist batsmen looks unbalanced to me and there is the danger that the top-order go into the Test with the attitude that “someone else can get the runs”. Plus AB is such a key batsman, I want him to focus on that, scoring big hundreds that win Tests!
However, if the pitch is an absolute greentop and a spinner is unlikely to have much work, then I can live with AB keeping & Duminy and Albie Morkel playing.
The english media and pundits are praising this english team and really overating them, do you think they a better side than South Africa?
I do believe England are a very good team, but I honestly don’t believe they’re better than us! Of their team, only Cook, Pietersen, Swann, Prior and Anderson would make our team I reckon.
Do you see Tahir play any part in this series now that Duminy is on-form as an all-rounder?
Duminy may be on-form as a batsman, but he’s certainly not on-form in terms of being a test all-rounder – he’s hardly bowled! I do think Tahir has an important part to play as England have traditionally struggled against wrist-spin … he just needs the sun to shine and dry out the pitches a bit!
Khwezi Mgquba asked:
Naturally England would know the conditions well and they also have some good match practice under the belt, but I do feel that we have the slight edge especially in the batting because of the 7 specialist batsmen.My concern is that historically we have struggled to break the opening partnership of the two left handers and that will be vital.Also M Morkel, against his natural length, will have to ensure he bowls a fuller length and not relent on the pressure that we expect Steyn and Philander to exert.We achieve that and we will have a great chance to win yet another series in England.
Good points Khwezi, but having seven specialist batsmen can backfire because there’s a tendency to leave the job of scoring runs to the next man in! Remember when we batted all the way down to number 10? That was also the 90-5 era exactly because of that attitude! Bowling to the left-handers up front will be crucial, but Steyn has improved a lot in that department, Kallis is also good at it and I think Philander will threaten them outside their off-stumps. The last time we toured England, Morne Morkel had a tremendous series, so hopefully he can recall that form!
Dan Ferguson asked:
Morning Ken. Enland have played tests against the west indies and have played against the ozzies. We have had 2 short warm up games in which we did not shine. Are we not under prepared? If this was a boxing match and we were coming up against the champ we would get walloped.
If I was telling my country I was serious about being number 1 then why have we not prepared in this way?
Hi Dan. The South African team are adamant that they are 100% prepared, saying most of their preparation is mental anyway … We shall see … This goes against conventional thinking, but Gary Kirsten was happy with the schedule. There is a chance that England may struggle having to make the switch back from ODI cricket to tests, plus they may be getting a bit mentally stale … Let’s hope so anyway!
Jody Druce asked:
Who do you think really are favourites for this tour? I have another question. The South African side seams to be very optimistic, do you think thats a good thing?
Hi Jody, I don’t think either team can really be considered outright favourites, but I will be very disappointed if we don’t win the series. There’s no harm in the confidence because we do have a really great team that has won all over the world and they’ll be hungry to win in England again and claim that number one ranking.
Derek Druce asked:
I have a few q”s for you.
1. Would you agree with me if I said that i don”t think SA should be talking so much about how they are going to be number 1 before they have even started playing and they are playing the world number 1?
2. Do you think Morne is going to be at his best?
3. Do you think that SA”s batting line up will meet the chalenge?
4. Since both England and SA have bowlers in the top 10, who do you think will be better as far as bowling goes?
I don’t think the team have said they will be number one, but they have clearly identified that as their goal … and why not? It’s a great motivation.
You never really know with Morne, do you? But I’m heartened by his recent form, he was absolutely brilliant in the IPL and was consistent right through our summer. Plus he bowled extremely well the last time the team was in England.
I’m very happy with our top six, they all have plenty of experience in English conditions and they’re the best people for the job. But we need big hundreds – one of the reasons I don’t want De Villiers to keep wicket.
I also think our bowling attack is better than their’s – we have a bit more pace plus a wrist-spinner.
do you think Steyns pace and Morkels bounce will be a big factor on the English wickets or is more line and lenth and swing thats going to get the wickets via Philander and maybe Kallis and how do you think Tahir will shape on the English wickets
The weather conditions play a major role in England, but the beauty of our attack is that they have all the bases covered! Line & length will generally get the job done, but it’s great to have that extra pace and bounce, plus Philander can get assistance from the pitch when most other bowlers can’t. If there’s turn and bounce, Tahir can then be a handful, as he’s proven before in county cricket.
Do you reckon the selectors will give Tsolokile a start in the second Test and will they change the batting line-up with AB now behind stumps in first Test? Thanks
Well that’s one of the problems I have with AB keeping in the first Test. Whatever the result, the same team should be given another chance in the second Test .,. and by then the series could be over! What’s the point of Tsolekile only being considered for the second Test?
Jason Every asked:
Do you think Tsolekile has the ability to perform consistently with the bat at test level? Without Mark Boucher is our tail not looking a bit too long?
Tsolekile has averaged over 40 in the last few domestic seasons, which suggests he can be as effective a batsman as Boucher was. The responsibility still rests with the top six to score the runs! If you’re really worried about the tail and a frontline spinner is not going to get much work, then maybe play Peterson ahead of Tahir. I strongly believe in specialists at Test level!
Don”t you think it is sad that this is only a 3 test series?
The series against Aus last year was only 2 tests… Whose decides on the length of a series?
It’s an absolute disgrace that there are only 3 Tests – what happens if one is ruined by the weather? The 2 Tests against Australia was an abomination!
The tour schedules are decided by the two countries’ boards … it’s time the public really put pressure on the administrators by showing how much they want Test cricket.
Hey ken do u think we should get worried by the form of our opening batsmen in the practice games coz they haven”t been getting much tumke on the crease
Our opening pair will certainly be one of the prime targets for England, but don’t forget Smith’s previous record there!
Plus Petersen has scored heaps of runs in county cricket.
Rudi Meyer asked:
Alec Stewart said in the last few days that the SA team”s success always depends on asserting dominance right from the start and putting the other team on the back foot. Apparently without that SA teams struggle. Do you agree with that assessment?
I think that applies to any team actually. But we have both won and lost series after winning the first Test.
Do you think its reasonable to expect philander to stay on his incredible run last seen against NZL earlier in the year or are we placing to much pressure on him.
Philander should enjoy English conditions!
Tshepo Timothy asked:
Hi Ken, regarding our lack of preparation leading up to the 1st test match, do you think it will have a huge impact on our performance? Who do you think will be our impact player/players on this match? Thanx
Hi Tshepo, well the team management and players are adamant that they are 100% prepared and most of their preparation is mental. This goes against conventional thinking, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Kirsten & Upton are going to rewrite the cricket manual!
I’m backing Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn to have major impacts because they’ve been disappointing on previous tours of England and they’ll be desperate to make their mark. Wisden Cricketer of the Year honours await!
Ryan Fynn asked:
Where do you think AB DeVilliers should bat now that he looks to be taking over the gloves from Boucher?
Well I don’t think AB de Villiers should be keeping wicket. He should be batting number five, concentrating on his key role which is scoring big hundreds that win us Test matches!
Bruce Mclennan asked:
Morning / Afternoon Ken
What are your personal thoughts on the lack of prep for the South African Team. Its a huge worry for me , i can see us all to easily losing the first test and having an uphill struggle from there in the rest of the series. It also worries me that I seem to be one of a minority that dont think we have had enough prep time. Living in London I have watched England play all there recent test series and they are on top of there game and the will be ready , will we ? I just dont see how a trip to Switzzerland can be even remotely the same as actual playing time.
You’re definitely not the only one who’s concerned! But the team & management say most of their preparation is mental, and Switzerland helped them “switch on” for the challenges ahead (apart from Marchant de Lange of course, whose tour was ruined by that trip!)
Actual playing time is always good, but the games against the counties tend to lack intensity …
There’s a chance that England, having played so much already this summer, might be starting to get a bit mentally stale …
But conventional thinking and history are on your side …
malcolm sandt asked:
i will presume that AB will be keeping wicket for the first test.My question were will he bat and will it effect his batting as he is one of our star batsman and we need good scores from him and i take it jp duminy will come in.will AB keep in the long run or will thami tsolikile keep in second or third test and then would jp duminy fall out.how about playing an extra bowler in the first test.thank you for your time
It looks like AB will be keeping wicket in the first Test and my fear is that it will affect his batting! He may have been able to do both jobs superbly in ODIs, but this is high-pressure Test cricket between the two best sides in the world. What happens if he has to keep wicket for 100 overs and then come in with us 30-3? Which can easily happen in England … AB is one of our key performers with the bat and we need big hundreds from him.
It seems Duminy will come in, giving us seven specialist batsmen, which is unbalanced in my view (see reasons above).
And what is the point of AB just keeping for the first Test? Why is Tsolekile there and why does he have a contract if he’s not going to be the long-term test wicketkeeper?
I would prefer six specialist batsmen, Tsolekile, four bowlers Kallis … if that can’t do the job, nothing will!
Walter ka Pangela asked:
Ken, what would be your starting line up for the Proteas? With regard to the issue of threat, I think the first test would be a draw for me, considering the quality of both batsman and bowlers in both sides.
My team, depending on conditions, would be Smith, Petersen, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers, Rudolph, Tsolekile, Steyn, Philander, M. Morkel, Tahir. If it’s a greentop, then I would consider leaving out Tahir and playing one of Albie Morkel, Robin Peterson or JP Duminy …
A draw is not a bad call for the first Test … there’s rain around and South Africa will probably make a slow start to the series ….
1)Do you think that AB will take the keeping duties permanently if he does well with both bat&gloves in this test?
2)If this combo plays well together and both Duminy and Roudolph score runs,who would make way for Thami?
3)Do you think calling up Morkel for a bowler was a good idea seeing he has never performed well with the ball for the proteas
4)If we were to keep this combo,who would be the next best batsman in line?
I really hope AB is not being lined up to be the permanent wicketkeeper. He’s far too good a batsman for that … He will replace Kallis as our key batsman and we want him to be focused on scoring big hundreds that win Test matches! Plus he has a dodgy back … I can’t picture him keeping for 100 overs in the sub-continent and it not affecting his batting! Choosing him as wicketkeeper for the first test is short-term thinking of the worst kind and what does it say to Tsolekile?!
Your 2nd question goes to the heart of the matter. If Tsolekile doesn’t play in the first Test, I don’t think he’ll play in the series! So why does he have a contract and why is he over there?!
The selection of Albie Morkel shows that there is quite a gap in terms of our pace bowling depth below the national team. In his defence, he has experience of English conditions, can swing the ball and obviously can bat well down the order.
When you say keep this combo, I presume you mean with Duminy in at seven? Next batsman in line is hard to say, but I would put my money on Faf du Plessis.
werner du preez asked:
Can you please rate and compare the top 5 batsmen and top 3 bowlers on either side? And then make a call on who is superior in which area? SA might struggle in teh 1st test, but after that it will be game on.
Hmmm … Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell v Smith, Petersen, Amla, Kallis & De Villiers … Smith beats Strauss, Cook beats Petersen, Amla beats Trott, Kallis beats Pietersen, De Villiers beats Bell … so 4-1 to SA!
Steyn, Morkel, Philander shade Anderson, Broad, Bresnan/Finn in my opinion, 2-1 but Swann would beat Tahir.
Not very scientific, but there you go!
Hi Ken, People – mostly Australian – have introduced concepts like bowling units, attack leaders, batting groups, athletes (seriously, i think back to alan kourie and graham gooch… bla dee bla). I do look forward to English commentators not focusing on these phrases! This series could be decided by the better team, but I”m more concerned about rain being the decider. Which team/captain is better equipped to handle consistent rain delays? What do players do during rain delays? TV games? Tweet? Push ups? Indoor nets?
Hi Michelle, best question of the day and you made me laugh! I don’t think Graham Gooch will take at all kindly to being compared to Alan Kourie (who was one of my heroes by the way!) …
You’re dead right about rain, which is why having a 3-test series is so crazy! Both captains are very experienced, Smith is the most experienced in current cricket, but I guess Strauss must have had more experience of rain!
The players certainly don’t tweet during games because ICC rules forbid cellphones, laptops in the changeroom! In the old days they used to play cards but I’m sure X-Box, playstation etc are the new rage in the modern era! Some of the batsmen will go have an indoor net if they are available.
The loss of Mark is huge but I feel the Proteas will rally together and win this series for him.
My question is surely SA cricket must look for a keeper for all forms of the game, if that is the case why have they not called in Quinton de Kok from the Lions , this must be the perfect opportunity to blood a young exciting keeper , batsman.
Thami is past his sell buy date and Villas is not in the same class as de Kok, but nobody mentioned Quintons name as a replacement for Mark. Why not
De Kock hasn’t even been keeping wicket for the Lions! He’s still very young, hardly has a 4-day record to speak of and is almost certainly not ready for Test cricket.
I don’t agree that we need a wicketkeeper for all formats … for tests, you need a specialist, but for limited-overs it’s a real advantage to have AB or an explosive batsman who can keep (like De Kock or Dane Vilas).
Thami is certainly not past his sell-by date, by the way, he’s as hungry as ever, has a similar temperament to Boucher and is the best gloveman in the country, along with Daryn Smit.
Don”t you think it would have made more sense that South Africa had to start mentoring a successor to Mark Boucher at least 3 or 4 years ago. With all due respect to Tsolokele, we needed someone younger that would serve for at least 6 years plus. What are your thoughts?
I don’t think we needed a successor that far back … Boucher was still a vital part of the team three years ago! I will say, however, that the time to start the process is right now. De Villiers keeping wicket in the 1st test just delays things. Tsolekile has a good three or four years in him, which is perfect to bridge the gap while one of the younger wicketkeepers comes through.
Ken hi, hope you well. Just a quick question regarding the wickie situation. Boucher is a massive loss to the side with his experience and tenacity. While Tsolekile is a good keeper, he is already moving on in age. Should we not rather be bringing in younger blood and grooming them into the position? AB is wasted at keeper considering his great fielding talents? your thoughts thanks.
Hi Doron, all good thanks, especially with an epic test series around the corner!
I think Tsolekile is the best bet at the moment, he’s experienced, has played Test cricket before and is the best gloveman in the country along with Daryn Smit. Tsolekile can fill the gap while the likes of Smit, Heino Kuhn, Dane Vilas or Quinton de Kock hone their games up to international standard. I agree, AB is a waste at wicketkeeper!
How is it even possible that we slipped to no. 3 in the test rankings, even after we won our last two series. According to my knowledge we were number 2 and just by a point?
There is an annual “refresh” of the rankings and results before 2009 have now been excluded. We’ve paid for not playing that many tests between 2009 and now, and our wins in England & Australia in 2008 now no longer count! The good news is that if we win this series against England then we will still be number one!
With Mark gone, do you think we should look for a new up and coming keeper, like we did when mark joined us. We put our faith in a new talent back than and look what Mark did for SA cricket.
I would prefer Tsolekile to have the job for a few years, while the successors hone their games to international standard.
carlo links asked:
Now that the warm up matches have passed, our bowlers have not hit their straps yet, do you think one should be a bit concerned ahead of the test matches? I for one dont look to much into these matches and see them purely as batting and bowling practise, i think england has a good side , but i think our bowling unit has got a edge over them do you agree?
Yes I agree with you. The county matches lack intensity and Test match atmosphere should see Steyn, Morkel & Philander raise their games a good notch. And yes, I believe our attack has the edge on their’s – bit more pace & variety, plus a wrist-spinner.
Hi Ken. Kirsten”s method of ”preparing” his side seems to be the most telling issue currently w.r.t. SA. I sure do hope/pray it works out for the better. Also although we have a very competitive side, i still think that the test & ODI series is England”s to lose seeing that they have an established side & are playing at home. I dont think Boucher”s absence will be that drastic as both AB & Thami are satisfactory replacements even though they dont have that qauntity & quality of experience that Bouch posseses. Your comments. Thanx for you time. All the Best to our team …
Hi Ismail, spot on, let’s hope Kirsten is right in terms of preparation! I do think our team is better than England’s, but they will be formidable at home. And hopefully the loss of Boucher will inspire the team to greater heights as a form of tribute …
Gary Peel asked:
Do you think if Gary & Graeme, got offered a 1-1 drawn series, they would take that? Or do you think they have the self belief that they can turn over the English twice in a row, at home?
I certainly think they’ll be aiming for the series win. We have a great side, with a fantastic record away from home, and if we’re serious about being number one, then we have to win this series! A draw would be disappointing.
Where would you consider the biggest battle in England. I would imagine that the bowling will be due to the English summer that is so wet this year. When I was reading all the reports about the matches the saffers played against the counties, there was no bowler who was exceptional. Should we be concerned as supporters that South Africa might be outbowled by the poms. Thank for you time to answer my question … Justin
I think we have the better attack, with more pace, variety and a leg-spinner, and hopefully the intensity of Test cricket will bring out the best in them. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt!
Much has been said of the two sides” batting v bowling. What is your opinion of who has the upper hand in batting? And then also on the bowling front?
The batting is fairly even, although Smith, Amla, Kallis & De Villiers are modern-day greats, whereas I would only rate Cook & Pietersen in that bracket from the England team.
And I also believe we have the edge in the bowling, see reasons above.
Good Day Ken;
First and foremost; I would like to wish the Proteas the Best Of Luck.It”s more of a comment than anything. But It”s got to be painful for Mark”s incident. I would personally have loved to see him close his Test Cricket chapter with a win. But since its a team effort; I would like to say Good Luck to his future. As for England- I got one word. TAHIR
Hi Lloyd, let’s hope the sun shines both literally and figuratively for Tahir and the rest of the team!
And let’s hope Mark recovers fully from his awful injury.
I am quietly confident that the Proteas can take the series. My question revolves around the venue for the 1st test, The Oval. I can remember from the the top of my head that we have lost at least 3 test matches there being the Devon Malcom test, the Harmison one in 2004 and the Pieterson one in 2008. Is this the banana skin that can cripple the series before it starts for the Proteas??
The Oval Test has previously been the last one in the series, when mental fatigue has taken it’s toll or we’ve already won the series. I expect us to play much better there this time because it’s the start of the series. England have moved Lord’s to the end of the tour because visiting teams always seem to be inspired by the venue and play better there!
Jan du Plessis asked:
I think England will win because they have momentum and more, much more game time underneath their belt.Why do S.A. play so little Test Cricket, why do S.A.have so Looooong
off season from Test Cricket,we as the South African public are being treated to Aus vs Sri-Lanka;England vs West-Indies;Sri-Lanka vs Pakistan and so on but when last did SA play Test Cricket.How can we expect to win with no match fitness.I think us, the public, are being robbed of good cricket from S.A. because of IPL and a busy international schedule.
The public must show Cricket South Africa that they love Test cricket!
Peet Coetzee asked:
Hi Ken thanks for your time.
I”ve got two questions. Firstly even though the injury to Boucher is very tragic, don”t you think our batting and bowling line-ups has improved with the addition of Duminy? With the only slight concern being AB”s ability to cope with the added responsibilty?
Secondly what do you think of Greame Smit”s comments regarding KP”s exit from ODI”s and Twenty20”s. Although I agree with most of Greame”s remarks I just think due to the history between them it”s not wise to openly question his decisions. Surely KP will react on this in some way soon. Won”t this distract Greame from the job at hand?
I don’t think there’s as much between Smith and Pietersen as there was in the past. And his comments have been taken rather out of context, the original context was more supportive of KP, saying he might not know what he’ll be missing, based on Graeme’s experience of stepping down from the limited-overs captaincy.
Hi Ken. DO you think it is wise to have Duminy in against England? The reason I ask is that with Rudolph and Duminy in at 6 & 7 and both being left handed and taking into consideration Swann”s record against left handers
Another good reason why Tsolekile should play and De Villiers just concentrate on his batting!
Basil de Beer asked:
Hi Ken, How do you rate our tail battingwise against England? The English tail did quite well against their previous opponents.
yes, the strength of the English tail is a concern, given our past history of struggling against the lower-order. Broad, Bresnan and Swann are all very capable with the bat …