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Ken Borland

Constants & challengers looking for cheer in Pakistan 0

Posted on February 15, 2021 by Ken

South Africa have played 14 T20 Internationals in the last two years and have used 26 players in that time.

Of the squad that will start a three-match series in Pakistan on Thursday afternoon (3pm SA time), Tabraiz Shamsi (13/14), David Miller (11/14), Dwaine Pretorius (9/14) and Andile Phehlukwayo (8/14) have been pretty constant selections in the Proteas T20 squad.

But with the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played in India in October/November this year, who are the other players who will be looking to book their places in the first-choice squad over the next week? What are the roles for which there are still selection question marks?

Back-up spinner

With Imran Tahir only appearing once in the last two years, it would appear wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi is now the first-choice spinner. But the effectiveness of spin bowlers in T20 has been a constant through the years, especially in India, and South Africa would love to be able to field two tweakers. Ideally, to balance the side, the second one should be a batsman as well.

The players who fit that description are Bjorn Fortuin, George Linde and Jon-Jon Smuts, all accurate left-arm orthodox bowlers.

Linde is the one who has had most to cheer lately, taking five wickets the last time he bowled, in the second Test. With an average of 17.78 and a strike-rate of 136 in franchise T20s, the left-hander can certainly bring some power-hitting to the No.6 position.

Fortuin is probably the best bowler of the three, but is the weaker batsman, while the 32-year-old Smuts is Mr Consistent and he has already excelled with both bat and ball in the five ODIs he has played.

Fast bowling back-up

Kagiso Rabada, now back resting in Bryanston, and Lungi Ngidi, the pride of Kloof, are the twin pace bowling spearheads of South Africa’s first-choice T20 side. There is quite a divide in terms of success between them and the other pacemen who are striving to be in the World Cup squad.

While Anrich Nortje is also back resting in South Africa, Junior Dala and Lutho Sipamla have the opportunity to make themselves regulars in the squad, while the uncapped trio of Glenton Stuurman, Nandre Burger and Okuhle Cele will want to show their abilities as well.

The No.3 link-man

Temba Bavuma is busy establishing himself as Quinton de Kock’s opening partner and Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller have cemented their places in the middle-order. But will veteran Faf du Plessis make it to another World Cup? The 36-year-old had a little dip in form last year, his strike-rate dropping from 145 to 125, but he does still churn out the runs in the shortest format.

If Du Plessis is not going to be at that No.3 node, who could possibly replace him?

Heinrich Klaasen and Pite van Biljon are more finishers who bat five or six, while Reeza Hendricks has plenty of experience in the top three but needs to regain his best form. If Janneman Malan blossoms then he could force his way into the reckoning and cause the batting order to shuffle with Bavuma maybe moving to No.3.

Ryan Rickelton and Jacques Snyman are the up-and-coming young stars who have excelled at franchise level batting in the top three as well.

New-look Sharks hoping that level of performance does not plummet down Kloof Gorge 0

Posted on September 25, 2020 by Ken

With 13 players missing from the 23-man squad that beat the Stormers in their last SuperRugby game back in mid-March, Sharks coach Sean Everitt will be anxious that his team’s level of performance does not plummet into the depths of a virtual Kloof Gorge when they travel to Pretoria to take on the Bulls on SuperFan Saturday.

Everitt named his 30-man squad for the trip on Thursday and he will be leaning heavily on established combinations like Ox Nche and Thomas du Toit in the front row, locks Ruben van Heerden and Hyron Andrews, halfbacks Sanele Nohamba and Curwin Bosch, and Jeremy Ward and Lukhanyo Am in midfield.

“Saturday’s match is all about preparation, because we’ve been out for six months we need to reinstall and revise our game-plan. We need to make sure everyone understands it and we’re taking a few youngsters up with us to see where they are too in terms of fitting into our system. I’ll be looking at our tempo, accuracy and conditioning because we don’t know where we are right now with those.

“The players we have brought in suit the way we want to play. A guy like Manie Libbok is multiskilled, really versatile and has dangerous x-factor. He offers something in the same mould as Bosch and Aphelele Fassi when we play him at fullback. Werner Kok is also a workhorse and his work-rate epitomises the energy and enthusiasm we want to play with. He’ll start on the wing and then we’ll play him a bit at centre in the second half,” Everitt said on Thursday.

After such a promising season was washed down the basin by Covid-19, the Sharks are in a rebuilding phase and several new faces have the chance to establish themselves in the senior team. Saturday’s match at Loftus Versfeld is an important step in testing the depth of the squad.

“We were happy where we were, but we had been very fortunate from an injury point of view and were reaping the benefits of a long pre-season in which we did a lot of work on the changes to our game. We were on a roll, but dwelling in the past is not something I do, we are looking forward. It was sad for guys like Louis Schreuder, Tyler Paul and Andre Esterhuizen, who were in their last season with the Sharks.

“But it’s all a clean slate now, it’s a whole different competition because the Bulls have done some really good recruiting and the Lions too. We’re going back to the drawing board to see how we can improve. We’ve had some bad luck with injuries and we are missing some quality players like Fassi, Tambwe and Nkosi, but we started preparing a while ago with two squads,” Everitt said.

Players not considered for this weekend’s squad due to injury were fullback Fassi, loose forwards Henco and James Venter, hooker Kerron van Vuuren and wings Madosh Tambwe and Sbu Nkosi.

Squad: Ox Nche, Mzamo Majola, Dylan Richardson, Dan Jooste, Thomas du Toit, John-Hubert Meyer, Ruben van Heerden, JJ van der Mescht, Hyron Andrews, Emile van Heerden, Evan Roos, Adam Mountfort, Celimpilo Gumede, Tera Mtembu, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Phepsi Buthelezi, Grant Williams, Sanele Nohamba, Jaden Hendrikse, Curwin Bosch, Jordan Chait, Muller du Plessis, Caleb Dingaan, Jeremy Ward, Marius Louw, Lukhanyo Am, JP Pietersen, Werner Kok, Manie Libbok, Thaakir Abrahams.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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