Team South Africa for ICC World Cup 2011
Ranked as the fourth best One-Day team in the ICC ODI ratings, South Africa are a team that are well formed to do what it takes to win the upcoming tournament. Although their unpredictable stance in the previous World Cup tournaments puts their position in a bit of a doubt, South Africa remain a formidable force to part. Similar to England, South Africa has not won a World Cup title even once in their lifetime despite some close finishes, which by the way earned them the infamous title ‘Chokers’. That is just another way of implying how the Protease choke their fans with a loss at crucial stages of matches in a tournament from where victory looks a possibility.
South Africa played its first World Cup in 1992 after it was taken back into the fold after the Apartheid regime ended. It had a relatively good tournament and progressed to the semi finals. However, England won that match by virtue of the much debated rain rule. That was the time when Jonty Rhodes redefined fielding after an exemplary performance in the field, the highlight of which was a diving run out of Inzamam-ul-Haq. In 1996 South Africa were among the favorites. However, it lost in the quarter finals to West Indies. The decision to leave out strike bowler Allan Donald in that crucial encounter cost them dear. South Africans carried their blistering form into the World Cup 1999 expecting a sure shot win that time given the sort of all-round depth of the African giants among their ranks, but it was not to be as their match tied with the Australians from where the Protease were ruled out of the tournament. As hosts of the World Cup 2003, South Africans were expected to put on a good display but the team faltered early a piece and had to make an early exit in the group stages of the tournament following losses from Sri Lanka, West Indies and New Zealand. Last time, the team did make it to the semis once more, but yet again the Australians were there to haunt them as the Aussies clinched an esy victory to drive the Protease out of the Word Cup one more time.
There is absolutely no doubt that South Africa is in great form at the moment so that is not a worry. The team even inducts the world’s best coaches to assist them but the main problem lies in delivering in crunch situations which matter most and surely, if the Protease are to get over the line and beat the best they need to pick up their standards in crucial games.
Pat Symcox, former legendary spinner of South Africa, is positive about South Africa’s chjances come this World Cup, “This is the best squad South Africa have ever sent to a World Cup, and the most balanced and experienced one. But our preparation has been predominantly concerned with ensuring the seam bowlers are ready for the tournament, when spin bowling will be more important given the conditions. However, if ever there was a time when South Africa will win the World Cup, this is it.”
The team is very fortunate to have a nice blend of experienced as well as some fine youngsters joining the ranks and putting up some great performances for the side. While fielding remains the hallmark of South African cricket, there have been some delightful performances with the bat and bowl too. Rallied under Graeme Smith, this team will now look to pick up pieces and try their level best to play off the ‘chokers’ tag to prove to the world how good a team they are.
South Africa sport a good opening pair in captain, Graeme Smith and the stylist, Hashim Amla. Amla, who has been in the form of his life, scores the bulk of the Proteases’ runs and would be expected to take his blistering form into the World Cup. Jacques Kallis, AB De Villiers and JP Duminy form a strong and considerably experienced middle order which provides great strength to the team. Colin Ingram is a great young find for the South Africans who has proven his worth in recent series. Johan Botha is not only good with his off-spin bowling but when required, the right hander can hit the bowl out of the park. Right hand-left hand combination of Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell can generate some lively pace off their brisk fast bowling and send in batsmen’s stumps flying out of the turf or pitch in some really accurate bouncers to make batmen’s’ arrival at the crease a bit of an unwelcome expedition. Morne Morkel is also a heck of a bowler who offers good support to the opening bowling pair and makes good use of his height to deceive batsmen with his lethal bouncers and slow deliveries. Last but not the least, Imran Tahir, the Pakistan-born young leg-spinner, adds a lot to the side with his useful contribution with the ball. Thus, South Africaare well endowed not only in their batting that goes down to no. 8and no. 9 but also have a good mix of fast and spin bowling attack to defend their totals sufficiently well.
South Africa 15-man Squad
AB De Villiers
Morne Van Wyke