Top 8 Teams for the ICC World Cup 2015 – South Africa
South Africa 15-man squad for ICC World Cup 2015: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wicket keeper), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.
South Africa is also one of those sides that have gambled on an injured player to be available to play by the time World Cup commences. Quinton De Kock was selected by the South African selectors even though he was injured with an ankle ligament tear. He is expected to be fit by the time South Africa play their first two matches. AB de Villiers will keep the wickets in his stead and the opening slot will be covered by either Farhaan Behardien or Rilee Rossouw who have been included for that purpose.
Lunwabo Tsotsobe could not keep his place in the side, even though there were indications of his return. Kyle Abbott has been selected in his stead while Wayne Parnell will keep him company as the extra bowler.
Ryan McLaren who has been Jacques Kallis’ replacement as an all-rounder since his retirement also lost his place. Ryan McLaren has mentioned that he is shocked at the exclusion but it was expected due to his poor performance as a batsmen and a chain of underwhelming bowling performances.
AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla are the backbone of the South African batting. Both of them have made a habit of scoring runs with such consistency since they joined international cricket that the cricketing world is awed. Both, captain AB de Villiers and his vice Hashim Amla, occupy the top two spots in the ICC ODI batting rankings which is a clear indication of how much the South African team relies on them. With the worlds two best batsmen in South African XI, they are without a doubt the two key batsmen in the side.
South African bowling will be led by Dale Steyn, the world’s best fast bowler. Currently ranked as the highest ranked fast bowler and 3rd from top in the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings, Steyn will provide the killer blow that South African bowling need against the opposition. On Australian pitches, his pace followed by his outstanding swing bowling will be a horror show for the batsmen.
South African team consists of three of the world’s best players in their team. Their consistency and greatness is undeniable. De Kock, Amla, de Villiers and Faf du Plessis will provide the batting strength in South African middle order that is better than most. Batting is what South Africa will rely on the most in this World Cup.
Proteas will rely on Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to contain the opposition and for all the pacers to make good use of the bounce on the Australian tracks. They have one of the best fielding units in the cricketing world and fans would be hoping that they will successfully back up their bowling.
The biggest hurdle that the South Africans will have to cross is to hold their nerves under pressure. They have been tagged as chokers because their side has a history of crumbling under pressure situations like tough contests or knock-out matches. Proteas have always had this infamous label associated with them and this has resulted in massive pressure in crunch situations.
Another point to note is that the South African lower order, has scarcely contributed to the final totals of their batting of late. This could either be the reason of falling under pressure or less chances in the crease due to continuous top orders successes. The team would also be worried about the consistency of their bowlers apart from Steyn who has been bearing most of the burden all by himself while the rest of the bowlers play a passive containment role at best.
The Proteas are being led by a new captain this time around and have the world’s top 3 in their side which marks them the favourites from the beginning of the tournament. They are coming to the tournament with a high after demolishing the West Indies in all departments. South Africa have also left out a motivator this time around as a part of their management which might be a step in the right direction to finally overcome their mental obstacles which were caused by constantly being reminded of their past failures.
As AB de Villiers said, that they will do absolutely nothing different from the past and develop their team throughout the tournament and win matches for South Africa. Perhaps with a new captain and some of the best in the side, South Africa can finally overcome their ghosts of the past World Cups, ending the streak of chokes and finally carry a new tag ie. “World Champions”.