Kleinveldt keen to improve on 'tough' debut
The conclusion has already been made by many. Rory Kleinveldt will not play Test cricket in the near future. After conceding 97 in 21 overs, including 12 no-balls and probably making a similar number of misfields in the Brisbane Test, he has not covered himself in glory.
When looking at the two fast bowlers South Africa introduced before him - Vernon Philander and Marchant de Lange -- Kleinveldt's pedigree did not appear the same. Consider the circumstances, though, and it may not look that bad.
Philander played his first match in Cape Town in the freakish 47-all out match last summer. He has barely put a foot wrong since. De Lange debuted in Durban against Sri Lanka, who were still reeling from defeat in Centurion. He took 7 for 84 in a losing cause and has played one other Test, in which he was comprehensively exposed by New Zealand. If it was not for injury, de Lange may have made an appearance instead of Kleinveldt and who knows how he would have fared on a flat track against Michael Clarke and Ed Cowan.
That was the surface Kleinveldt was asked to debut on, and although his overstepping and lapses in the field were inexcusable, his bowling need not be written off just yet. His first spell of three overs contained mostly gift-wrapped, short-and-wide handouts for Australia's batsmen, but he returned to bowl some challenging deliveries and give a small glimpse of what he was capable of.
"Those first three overs were tough for me. I didn't execute my plans on the day. Once the Test match wore on, I think I got a little better," Kleinveldt said. "Obviously, I struggled a bit with the no-balls and [that's] something I've got to work on."
With 33 no-balls bowled in all (23 of them by South Africa in one innings), it was an issue all round. Australia's captain Michael Clarke said that it may have been caused by the pitch being a little raised at the end of the run-up. "There is a little bit of a ridge as you came up to the wicket but I don't know if that was the reason for the no-balls," Kleinveldt said. "It was not really acceptable on anyone's part. I think if we had an opportunity to bowl in the middle before the game, maybe we could have worked something out but it's pretty tough to work something out during the game."
South Africa also failed to analyse the pitch correctly. After watching it get greener throughout the preparation week, they decided to field an all-pace attack, a plan that backfired. Kleinveldt admitted the management expected something different and had misread conditions. "We thought there was going to be a bit of pace and bounce in the Gabba wicket. We thought the wicket will [move] around and four seamers would be the way to go."
Instead, they found the bounce to be "tennis-ball" like, which Kleinveldt compared to Newlands in Cape Town. With no slower-bowling option available to them, South Africa had to rely on the quartet and as a unit they did not deliver. "I don't think we hit our lengths consistently in this game," Kleinveldt said. "One of the two bowlers would bowl well and the other bowler would leak some runs. That's one of the things we'll have to make sure we get right for the next Test match."
Along with tightening up the bowling, South Africa will also have to find a way to stop Clarke, who is 2012's leading Test run-getter. Kleinveldt said he was "tough to bowl to," and South Africa lacked ideas when Clarke got going. "We'll sit down and look at the game and come up with some plans. Obviously we'll need to think out of the box and have a plan B and a plan C, if plan A doesn't work."
Popular opinion is that Kleinveldt will not have to worry about any of that because he won't be required in Adelaide. South Africa are likely to turn to their frontline spinner Imran Tahir. Kleinveldt has managed not to become negative about his own inclusion. "We'll have to see [who plays] when we get down to Adelaide. They haven't told me anything about who is playing there."
Like any other cricketer, he wants the opportunity to give a better account of himself and believes he will get the chance to do that in the future. "This match was tough and I wish I could have done a little bit better but obviously that's how it went. I've just got to pick myself up and prepare well for the next Test match, and hopefully that will go better," he said.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent