Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13 March 7, 2013

South Africa abandon one-day experiments

49

Like a scientist who has decided his analysis has run its course, Gary Kirsten declared the exploratory phase for South Africa's one-day squad over as they begin preparations for their series against Pakistan.

The five-match rubber is the last outing the team will have before they travel to England for the Champions Trophy in June. From the outside it seems South Africa have much work to do if they hope to bring back ICC silverware but Kirsten is convinced they have the base from which to build and the time for trials is over.

"The players that are in this squad are the best players in the country. That's why they're selected. We're not experimenting. We're playing the best players," he said in Bloemfontein, ahead of the first ODI. "We're looking at the best 17 or 18 players knowing that we need to be able to shift and move around a bit."

The squad has three changes from the one that lost to New Zealand in January with Quinton de Kock and Dean Elgar out and Kyle Abbott in. While that hints at settling, what underlines it is the substantial difference from the Twenty20 squad that lost to Pakistan last week.

Crucially, South Africa have senior players back in the group with Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn bringing their 320 caps with them. That proved to be the biggest difference between the teams at Centurion, where Pakistan's seasoned bowling attack outclassed South Africa.

Getting the balance between old and new, especially in an era where cricket schedules are more cluttered than said scientist's work bench, is tricky. But with no Tests to think about before October, South Africa have an opportunity to do it properly.

Their selections will be questioned as selections always are but at least they have settled on something. Some will argue they should have included Richard Levi, Stephen Cook or Henry Davids, the top-three leading run-scorers in this season's one-day competition, but an opening partnership of Smith and Amla is more formidable.

Likewise, Andrew Birch, Roelof van der Merwe and Hardus Viljoen - the domestic tournament's leading wicket-takers - have had to miss out to an attack that will include Steyn, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson and Aaron Phangiso. Morkel remains an injury concern having not recovered fully from the left hamstring strain that kept him out of the third Test. Kirsten envisages that he will play "at some point" but, in keeping with the way he has been managed in previous one-day games, he may be rotated.

Where question marks remain is around the middle-order but a quick scan of the statistics hint that the selectors could not have done that much better. Vaughn van Jaarsveld scored 28 more runs than Farhaan Behardien in the Momentum Cup but no-one put up their hand up high enough.

"It's nice to have a focus on ODI cricket so we can upgrade our skills and make sure we spend as much time as we can knowing what we need to do to close games out in tight moments"
Gary Kirsten

What the likes of Berhardien, David Miller and Colin Ingram need to do is harden up - particularly mentally - before players such as Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma and Yaseen Vallie and Cody Chetty start challenging for their places. That could be as early as next season. For now, the incumbents have to do the job and Kirsten has accepted that, knowing they failed in that regard two months ago.

Against New Zealand, South Africa's middle order was its usual wobbly marshmallow, incapable of toasting no matter how much it was held over the fire. It melted in the face of pressure, where aspects such as the death bowling also struggled. "All our preparation and our debriefing has been on the New Zealand series," Kirsten said, confining the retrospection to the shelf. "We've spoken about what went wrong there and what we could have done better. We try not cross pollinate too much. That keeps us all sane. We're spending a huge amount of focus over the next three days on making sure we get our game in order. Then we know we can put opposition teams under pressure.

"We've played a lot of Test cricket over the last while, so it's nice to have a focus on ODI cricket so we can upgrade our skills and make sure we spend as much time as we can knowing what we need to do in that version of the game to close games out in tight moments. We know we can create some momentum, and we know that with the players we've got we are able to win games in difficult situations."

That is exactly where South Africa have fallen short. They have not put the opposition under pressure often enough and they have not closed out squeaky-bum situations, never mind done so with conviction. They have floated somewhere between uncertain and unable, mostly mirroring their tactics.

Now Kirsten has said that should change. Stability will return to South Africa's one-day squad. AB de Villiers has been reinstalled as wicketkeeper and will have to find a way to manage that, his captaincy and his role in the batting line-up without feeling rushed, as he once claimed to. He will have plenty to lean on with Faf du Plessis having emerged as a competent leader himself.

The batting and bowling roles of individual players will not yo-yo from game to game and the focus has supposedly been defined and lies centrally in everyone's minds. South Africa only have five matches to show whether all those things have actually happened.

Although Kirsten remarked that they have 15-20 ODIs before their next Test (five against Pakistan; one against Holland; potentially five at the Champions Trophy if they go all the way; five against Sri Lanka; plus a few more against Pakistan in the UAE), it is not as simple as those numbers. There is an ICC tournament in between and a demanding public will want to see how far South Africa have reallyprogressed.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 9, 2013, 21:07 GMT

    No mention of Kallis?. Having been informed that he won't be considered for bi-lateral ODI series is he going to make the Champions Trophy squad as a batsman as he has - still - has one of the best all time ODI batting averages?? If he doesn't then SA must have some seriously good players in his position!!. If he is not going to make the final cut then is it time in this format to tap him on the shoulder and say just concentrate on tests?

  • Crick_Expert on March 9, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    SA should add Kallis. PAK should drop Younis/Misbah.

  • getsetgopk on March 9, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Ok this 'we are not good at ODI's so what' thing needs to stop now. This is a quite nonsensical one and in a bad taste. We were not good at tests so we should call for tests to be abolished would be a childish thing to say the least. These three formats are there to stay and you need to deal with it. You win you celebrate and you loose you take it on the chin and move on. Tests are the prime format if you ask me but there are people and quite alot of them who care for the shorter versions in each and every country so its not up to XYZ to say lets get rid of this or that. Windies of 80's and Auss of the past decade proved it both the formats can be dominated over a long period of time so SA needs to pull their socks, they had a champion team in the past and no question they can't be good at ODI's this time around. Their bowling seems lacking a bit tweaking in lengths, need more yorkers etc.

  • bouncer1021 on March 9, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    SA seniors give them strength but Pak ais better off without seniors like Shoib Malik, Misbah, YK, and Afridi. They need Ahmed Shezad, Nasir Jameshed, Imran Farhat, Mohd Hafeez, Umer Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Kamran Akmal, Umer Gul, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal and Irfan in the team. Pack the team with few opening batters and lefties.

  • Soso_killer on March 9, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    As long as they bowl yorkers at the death they will be fine. They need to stop this madness of bowling length deliveries at the death, thats suicide. Secondly they need to adapt, during the T20 in Pretoria its like as if we saved the yorkers and full deliveries for the last 5 overs. That was silly because Pakistan attacked from the word go, and over and over again South Africa bowled length deliveries, or slow cutters that were not even hitting the stumps. Until the last 5. We are just to methodical, we must learn to adapt to the situation.

    3rd) We should attack the stumps more, i've seen this annoying tendency of following the batsman when he shuffles across the stump, Tsotsobe especialy is guilty of this. He did it with Kane Williamson and in the T20's, stumps dont move or shuffle across attack them if he misses you clean bowl him or plumb LBW. I should be the bowling coach GEEZ!!

  • AltafPatel on March 8, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Right decision by Kirsten. Stability in the team was something that SA required to be identified as champion in shorter format as well. Though they out performed in Tests in last 4-5 years, performance in ODI was drastic like not before. They lost to England 1-2 at home 2 years back, then to Aus 1-2, NZ 1-2 a month back, won to India 3-2(near margin), Pak 3-2 (hardly), Srilanka 3-2 (again hardly) and all that at home. Performance away is also similar. Recent decision will certainly revive their identity.

  • Crick_Expert on March 8, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    PAK Team will face SA strongest bowling in ODI series. PAK Team should add more batsmen in the team, the team should be as; 1)Nasir 2)Imran Farhat 3)Hafeez 4)Younis 5)K. Akmal 6)Mibah 7) Shoaib 8)Afridi 9)Junaid 10) Ifran 11)U. Akmal

    Saeed/Rehman should give rest in ODI series. And should utilized following 5 bowlers only; Hafeez, Afridi, Shoaib = Spin Bowlers Irfan, Junaid = Fast Bowlers

  • Newlandsfaithful on March 8, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Heres a vote of no confidence....regardless of the selection of the team, it was clear to see the noticeable difference in the tactics and lengths bowled in the Centurion T20. SA persisted with short balls - easily hit, while PAK bowled full and straight and were hard to get away. SA think tank is wanting. If Kirsten and co. manage to win any ODI / T20 silverware with the Proteas in their lifetime, I will eat Table Mountain.

  • DeckChairand6pack on March 8, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    You're right, we're not taking the ODI's seriously, so what? The Proteas give just the right amount of attention to this format in terminal decline that it deserves. Kallis is not playing because his workload is managed. Steyn is on a break because he is no. 1 in the world. Look, we could be no. 1 in this format in a heart beat if we wanted to, but what does that gain us ? Think of the cost, we need to look after our Mace. It hurts to lose in any format but SA cricket has their focus in the right areas.

  • zarasochozarasamjho on March 8, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    As a Pakistan supporter, I ask why is Kallis not in the team? As one of the top batsmen and definitely the best all-rounder and that too over such a long period, he should simply walk into any team, including strong SA. SA have made Pakistan's task a bit easier by excluding him. Come on Pakistan!!!

  • on March 9, 2013, 21:07 GMT

    No mention of Kallis?. Having been informed that he won't be considered for bi-lateral ODI series is he going to make the Champions Trophy squad as a batsman as he has - still - has one of the best all time ODI batting averages?? If he doesn't then SA must have some seriously good players in his position!!. If he is not going to make the final cut then is it time in this format to tap him on the shoulder and say just concentrate on tests?

  • Crick_Expert on March 9, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    SA should add Kallis. PAK should drop Younis/Misbah.

  • getsetgopk on March 9, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Ok this 'we are not good at ODI's so what' thing needs to stop now. This is a quite nonsensical one and in a bad taste. We were not good at tests so we should call for tests to be abolished would be a childish thing to say the least. These three formats are there to stay and you need to deal with it. You win you celebrate and you loose you take it on the chin and move on. Tests are the prime format if you ask me but there are people and quite alot of them who care for the shorter versions in each and every country so its not up to XYZ to say lets get rid of this or that. Windies of 80's and Auss of the past decade proved it both the formats can be dominated over a long period of time so SA needs to pull their socks, they had a champion team in the past and no question they can't be good at ODI's this time around. Their bowling seems lacking a bit tweaking in lengths, need more yorkers etc.

  • bouncer1021 on March 9, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    SA seniors give them strength but Pak ais better off without seniors like Shoib Malik, Misbah, YK, and Afridi. They need Ahmed Shezad, Nasir Jameshed, Imran Farhat, Mohd Hafeez, Umer Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Kamran Akmal, Umer Gul, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal and Irfan in the team. Pack the team with few opening batters and lefties.

  • Soso_killer on March 9, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    As long as they bowl yorkers at the death they will be fine. They need to stop this madness of bowling length deliveries at the death, thats suicide. Secondly they need to adapt, during the T20 in Pretoria its like as if we saved the yorkers and full deliveries for the last 5 overs. That was silly because Pakistan attacked from the word go, and over and over again South Africa bowled length deliveries, or slow cutters that were not even hitting the stumps. Until the last 5. We are just to methodical, we must learn to adapt to the situation.

    3rd) We should attack the stumps more, i've seen this annoying tendency of following the batsman when he shuffles across the stump, Tsotsobe especialy is guilty of this. He did it with Kane Williamson and in the T20's, stumps dont move or shuffle across attack them if he misses you clean bowl him or plumb LBW. I should be the bowling coach GEEZ!!

  • AltafPatel on March 8, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Right decision by Kirsten. Stability in the team was something that SA required to be identified as champion in shorter format as well. Though they out performed in Tests in last 4-5 years, performance in ODI was drastic like not before. They lost to England 1-2 at home 2 years back, then to Aus 1-2, NZ 1-2 a month back, won to India 3-2(near margin), Pak 3-2 (hardly), Srilanka 3-2 (again hardly) and all that at home. Performance away is also similar. Recent decision will certainly revive their identity.

  • Crick_Expert on March 8, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    PAK Team will face SA strongest bowling in ODI series. PAK Team should add more batsmen in the team, the team should be as; 1)Nasir 2)Imran Farhat 3)Hafeez 4)Younis 5)K. Akmal 6)Mibah 7) Shoaib 8)Afridi 9)Junaid 10) Ifran 11)U. Akmal

    Saeed/Rehman should give rest in ODI series. And should utilized following 5 bowlers only; Hafeez, Afridi, Shoaib = Spin Bowlers Irfan, Junaid = Fast Bowlers

  • Newlandsfaithful on March 8, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Heres a vote of no confidence....regardless of the selection of the team, it was clear to see the noticeable difference in the tactics and lengths bowled in the Centurion T20. SA persisted with short balls - easily hit, while PAK bowled full and straight and were hard to get away. SA think tank is wanting. If Kirsten and co. manage to win any ODI / T20 silverware with the Proteas in their lifetime, I will eat Table Mountain.

  • DeckChairand6pack on March 8, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    You're right, we're not taking the ODI's seriously, so what? The Proteas give just the right amount of attention to this format in terminal decline that it deserves. Kallis is not playing because his workload is managed. Steyn is on a break because he is no. 1 in the world. Look, we could be no. 1 in this format in a heart beat if we wanted to, but what does that gain us ? Think of the cost, we need to look after our Mace. It hurts to lose in any format but SA cricket has their focus in the right areas.

  • zarasochozarasamjho on March 8, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    As a Pakistan supporter, I ask why is Kallis not in the team? As one of the top batsmen and definitely the best all-rounder and that too over such a long period, he should simply walk into any team, including strong SA. SA have made Pakistan's task a bit easier by excluding him. Come on Pakistan!!!

  • on March 8, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    I just cant understand why they don't consider Philander. Or have they? He would make an excellent one day bowler and he is a more than competent batsman..

  • on March 8, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    i think it is the right time for south africa to try some new middle order batsmans those can absorb the presure at any level, as south africa has failed many time in big tourment with thier expeirenced player....

  • quittthewhinging on March 8, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    SA should gracefully withdraw from the WC and leave this bunch of no hopers at home. Gary Kirsten is NOT responsible for the success of the Test team; he just happened to walk in at the right moment. I can understand it if they want de Villiers to keep wicket for another GOOD batsmen; but who do they have in mind? Behardien? Miller? Ingram? And, for petes sake, Ontong? The selectors must snap out of their state of delusion. De Kock is a better batsman than all of those options and, if he was picked, AB would be relieved of WK duties. As it is AB is struggling with the captaincy and Faf is just as bad. I thought we would miss Kallis eventually (and we will) but at the moment Graeme Smith as captain seems the bigger loss.

  • mr.cricket78 on March 8, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    There seems to be a lot of people calling for de Lange? Whilst he has been out injured, he has looked really average from what I've seen in the domestic T20, not nearly enough variation, and erratic bowling at the death. I don't think he ever did enough in domestic cricket to warrant selection in the first place. Guys like Faf, Vernon, Elgar, Rory, Abbott have performed consistently in domestic cricket for a few seasons now.

    The selectors have put together a squad which should be given a chance to succeed. The majority of these guys have been good enough to dominate test cricket for a long time.

    The key with the test side is that new guys have come in to a winning side, which makes it that bit easier to get settled and perform.

  • on March 8, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    south africa should play with this elevn. 1. G.simth 2.H.amla 3.collin ingram 4.kallis 5.Ab divilers 6..Faf du Plessis 7.david miller 8.robin pertson 9.dale styn 10.morkel 11.totsbie

  • vandedipre on March 8, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    This is terrible! They are not taking ODIs seriously. No Kallis? Steyn on a lekker holiday during critical prep time? Guys like Berhardien and Ingram are just NOT good enough. If we want to win big games we have to include big players. This is a joke and we have already admitted defeat in the Champions Trophy.

  • on March 8, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    South Africa retains middle order batsmen who were the 2011-12 One Day domestic stars (they were not the only ones though, an odd inconsistency) despite them having failed repeatedly since. The middle order is therefore wobbly and not even that experienced. A very experienced recently wobbly player would be better than an inexperienced one if that is the best we have, but I think the chance to investigate other options has been squandered without reason. This puts even more pressure on De Villiers with only Faf to really lean on.

    In terms of bowling Abbott really hasn't ODI experience, he played one brilliant test and now he is cemented in all formats? All selections are questioned but there seems to be some inconsistency and wishful thinking in this one.

    New Zealand were at their worst and those results mean nothing but it seems the selectors think they do....

  • sean_kelly on March 8, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    A team with the backbone of Smith, Amla, Kallis, AB, JP, Faf, Philander, Steyn, Morkel and Robin Petersen should be bolstered with De Kock, De Lange, Davids and another spinner.

    Bit part players like Levi, Abbott, vd Merwe, A Morkel simply aren't good enough. Experiment with one or two positions, not 5 or 6.

  • Jester01 on March 8, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Agree with viking_legend, our bowling is very inconsistent - we struggle to make inroads with the new ball and the back-end bowlers leak a lot of runs. I don't really care much about the T20's but we need to take the ODI's more serious. The selectors have no idea who our best 11-players for the ODI's are. We use to experiment with different players every series, resting our top players - then as soon as a big tournament comes along we run back to our top players. I have no problem with us trying new players in T20's but we should treat ODI's the same as we would Test cricket - pick our top players and when they under perform/get injured give someone else who's been performing in our domestic setup. I really hope this ODI series against Pakistan we'll see a different approach by our management. Gary turned our Test team into an exceptional oneā€¦ I have no doubt in time he'll do the same with our ODI team.

  • alwayszaid on March 8, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    There is a clear case of South Africa missing Johan Botha in Odis,he can bat lower down the order with responsible innings and bowl economically in mid overs. I think he can give the balance to this odi side and apart from that he got a thinking cricket brain as well.

  • uncanny on March 8, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    SA ODI teams needs a complete ovehaul, remove all the "bits and pieces" players, search for a fast bowling allrounder, and i dont even thing mclarean fits into it. Parnell looked a good prospect but faded like as albie did. Opening should be smith and amla, one down kallis, AB should come 4th, duminy(in champions trophy)/faf 5th, ontang/miller at 6th, robbie at 7th, fastbolwer allrounder at 8, steyn, morkel, tsotsobe at 9,10,11.

  • ihaq1 on March 8, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    south africa do seem to have relatively ordinary sides in t20 and one dayers...many suggest that they expect amla, steyn and morne morkel to carry them around...while the south africans have exceptional talent lying around most of them have not even been tried...most players seem to be quite old around twenty eight with only one 23 year old...they seem tobe selecting players based on age many feel...tobe great in teh shorter versions south africa need to have a dynamic middle order batting too...without kallis they look tobe a bit short in teh middle order and behardien seems tobe getting more chances than others

  • viking_legend on March 8, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    SA have an awesome team on paper but they have a test match approach to ODI's in terms of bowling lenght. They also have too much faith in their batting line up cos they delay till the back end of an innings to score the bulk of their runs. Steyn, Morkel, Abbott and even the spinners should prepare themselves by bowling the yorker outside off stump, slower ball blouncers and even doing using the crease to create a different angle. We too one dimensional in the shorter form of the game. Mclaren and Kleinveldt are horrible selections! I'd rather see Hardus Viljoen and De Lange.

    Batting is too dependant on Smith, Amla, De Villiers and Kallis. Rest havent proven themselves over a long period in time but some, like Faf, have shown moments of brilliance. I hope that we can get some quality back in the middle or guys like Ingram and Miller set up. Berhardien has been a total dissapointment as are\were Ontong and Albie. De Kock and Morris seem like good options but need some work

  • on March 8, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    now Pak will loss 5-0. n surely hafeez will get slaughtered

  • quittthewhinging on March 8, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    I really wish Pakistan fans would stop carrying on about Ajmal on threads that do not even concern the Pakistan team. I'm no torchbearer for Swann but he is at least able to get wickets on all types on wickets unlike Ajmal, who seems to be toothless on pitches not suited to his particular tastes.

  • Dil-Dil-Pakistan on March 8, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    South Africa is very good side and its time is not experiment time because if you play against ICC lower rank team you can do experiment but Pakistan is very good side and it is also unpredictable team in this format in Pakistan team come back few star players they are give tough time to south Africa.

  • Dil-Dil-Pakistan on March 8, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    South Africa is very good side and its time is not experiment time because if you play against ICC lower rank team you can do experiment but Pakistan is very good side and it is also unpredictable team in this format in Pakistan team come back few star players they are give tough time to south Africa.

  • on March 8, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    SA have 2 do well against pak 2 keep their momentum in the champions trophy 2 prove that they r not chokers

  • Shongololo on March 8, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    C'mon Gary Kirsten, pull the other one. This side still has players who've had ample opportunity but seldom delivered, there are far more talented players not in the squad. And what if some of this mob fail repeatedly against Pakistan, will you then consider dropping them and bringing the wasted talent now on the outside inot the foldf? Our best ODI team, in my opinion, would comprise Amla, de Kock, Kallis, AB, JP, Faf, McLaren, Johan Botha, Philander, Steyn, Tsotsobe.

    Hell, they might even win an international trophy of note!!

  • on March 8, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    south africa ned 2 stop experimenting players and they did in t20s and lost , day hav give behardien ,levi, miller and ontong enormous chances and dey failed. they shudnt be given chance next

  • Robster1 on March 8, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    Come back Johan B - and asap

  • on March 8, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    Smith, Amla, Kallis,AB, Duminy, Faf, Levi, Mclaren/De lange, Peterson, Steyn, Giraffe, Tsotsobe 12th man

  • Smahuta on March 7, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    About time this experiment is over. I might watch a game again. But where is kallis? is he going to walk into the ODI side after not playing an odi for 2 years or so? Im sure he is good enough to do it but not sure how wise that would be.

  • Bulboy on March 7, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    If these are the best players, where are SA's best batsman and bowler...Kallis & Philander?

  • Great-shot444 on March 7, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    @Jimmy2s:just see the T20 top bowlers rankings . U will see that!

  • on March 7, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    @wiseshah: They were in fact the first team in history to reach top in all three formats

  • mzm149 on March 7, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    All South African batsmen apart from Amla and de Villiers will struggle against Saeed Ajmal as most of them will be facing him first time in ODIs.

  • wiseshah on March 7, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    SAF could be top in all 3 format, if they stop experimenting crazily.they have all the bases covered.

  • SurlyCynic on March 7, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    In the past SA have been great at winning meaningless ODI series, with the highest win% internationally. But then lost crucial knockout games.

    So now I wouldn't mind losing ODIs as long as we get our team right for the tournament. But I doubt it looking at the squad, I'm sure we'll see plenty more of Behardien blocking out dot balls and then getting out.

    Please come back soon JP Duminy! And please bring De Kock into the squad.

  • on March 7, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Where is Kallis? Is he injured or rested? He is an world class player.

  • t20cric on March 7, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    @jimmy2s If ur talking about the T20 then aren't u forgetting hafeez cuz he took 3 wickets and Ajmal always dominates with his bowling performance atleast once or twice in a series with his bowling.

    I also don't think this is the best SA ODI team cuz Quinton de kock scored the most runs in the tour match.

  • Apocalypse_EX on March 7, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Looking at potential there is no doubt that South Africa along with England are favourites for the Champions Trophy. However for South Africa much will depend on how Graeme Smith, A.B de Villiers and Steyn perform. In terms of ODIs, all three have modest records in England. Smith and de Villiers average 31 & 32 with the bat while Steyn averages 36 with the ball. For all of his wonderful Test exploits there is no doubt in my mind that Steyn has underachieved in limited overs cricket in general including ICC events. Averaging 29 and having an economy rate of above 5 does not do justice to his ability (I know he has been rested most of the time and that he often is a slow starter but still). Amla, Kallis and Morkel should do fine in my opinion.

    Looking through the groups England & Sri Lanka from Group A and South Africa & Pakistan from Group B should progress (All the other teams could still do well though). Personally, I feel Sri Lanka will surprise a few in England.

  • AKS286 on March 7, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    Albie & Mclaren are flops with bats & ball. Smith, Amla, Kallis, AB, De cock, faf ontong/theron, phangiso/harmer, tsotsobe, steyn, Abbott/ H.Viljoen. WC preparation starts from here.

  • Bongz77 on March 7, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    What are we doing with players like Mclaren, Behardien, Miller, Ingram and co? They have had enough chances and provide nothing we dont have or dont need already.

    If the selectors want us to believe they have picked the best squad available at the Champions trophy then it bettler look a little something like this:

    1. De Kok 2. Amla 3. Kallis 4. De villiers 5. Duminy 6. Du plessis 7. Botha 8. Morris 9. Steyn 10. Morkel 11. Tsotsobe/De Lange

  • SamRoy on March 7, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    SA doesn't have good limited over bowlers (except the first 10-15 overs with the new white ball) and apart De Villiers and Amla not good enough ODI batsman. Fast bowlers don't know how to bowl yorkers ( a problem which is plaguing many international sides nowadays) in the death overs and spinners allow the game to drift in the middle overs. Pakistan, a far superior limited overs (and in my opinion currently the best) bowling unit.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 7, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    De Kock is still not in the squad Kirsten so how can this be the best squad in the country? ??!!! PAK 4-1

  • on March 7, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    We really need JP fit and back in the team, that is one of the reasons why our middle-order batting has faltered. Miller cannot be in the team, he always fails.

  • joeberyl on March 7, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    gary got it right finally, make du plessis to open with graeme smith put amla first down it will strengthen the middle order... my team would be smith , du plessis , amla , kallis , de villiers , duminy /elgar/pure middle order batsman, albie morkel , dale steyn , robbie peterson , morkel , tsotsobe!!!!!!!!!!!

  • wrenx on March 7, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    "Pakistan's seasoned bowling attack"?? You mean Umar Gul. Not sure how "seasoned" Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan are. Afridi didn't even bowl. It was more a case of hapless bowling and fielding from SA that let the game get away from them, and an over-reliance on De Villiers with the bat

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  • wrenx on March 7, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    "Pakistan's seasoned bowling attack"?? You mean Umar Gul. Not sure how "seasoned" Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan are. Afridi didn't even bowl. It was more a case of hapless bowling and fielding from SA that let the game get away from them, and an over-reliance on De Villiers with the bat

  • joeberyl on March 7, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    gary got it right finally, make du plessis to open with graeme smith put amla first down it will strengthen the middle order... my team would be smith , du plessis , amla , kallis , de villiers , duminy /elgar/pure middle order batsman, albie morkel , dale steyn , robbie peterson , morkel , tsotsobe!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on March 7, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    We really need JP fit and back in the team, that is one of the reasons why our middle-order batting has faltered. Miller cannot be in the team, he always fails.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 7, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    De Kock is still not in the squad Kirsten so how can this be the best squad in the country? ??!!! PAK 4-1

  • SamRoy on March 7, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    SA doesn't have good limited over bowlers (except the first 10-15 overs with the new white ball) and apart De Villiers and Amla not good enough ODI batsman. Fast bowlers don't know how to bowl yorkers ( a problem which is plaguing many international sides nowadays) in the death overs and spinners allow the game to drift in the middle overs. Pakistan, a far superior limited overs (and in my opinion currently the best) bowling unit.

  • Bongz77 on March 7, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    What are we doing with players like Mclaren, Behardien, Miller, Ingram and co? They have had enough chances and provide nothing we dont have or dont need already.

    If the selectors want us to believe they have picked the best squad available at the Champions trophy then it bettler look a little something like this:

    1. De Kok 2. Amla 3. Kallis 4. De villiers 5. Duminy 6. Du plessis 7. Botha 8. Morris 9. Steyn 10. Morkel 11. Tsotsobe/De Lange

  • AKS286 on March 7, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    Albie & Mclaren are flops with bats & ball. Smith, Amla, Kallis, AB, De cock, faf ontong/theron, phangiso/harmer, tsotsobe, steyn, Abbott/ H.Viljoen. WC preparation starts from here.

  • Apocalypse_EX on March 7, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Looking at potential there is no doubt that South Africa along with England are favourites for the Champions Trophy. However for South Africa much will depend on how Graeme Smith, A.B de Villiers and Steyn perform. In terms of ODIs, all three have modest records in England. Smith and de Villiers average 31 & 32 with the bat while Steyn averages 36 with the ball. For all of his wonderful Test exploits there is no doubt in my mind that Steyn has underachieved in limited overs cricket in general including ICC events. Averaging 29 and having an economy rate of above 5 does not do justice to his ability (I know he has been rested most of the time and that he often is a slow starter but still). Amla, Kallis and Morkel should do fine in my opinion.

    Looking through the groups England & Sri Lanka from Group A and South Africa & Pakistan from Group B should progress (All the other teams could still do well though). Personally, I feel Sri Lanka will surprise a few in England.

  • t20cric on March 7, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    @jimmy2s If ur talking about the T20 then aren't u forgetting hafeez cuz he took 3 wickets and Ajmal always dominates with his bowling performance atleast once or twice in a series with his bowling.

    I also don't think this is the best SA ODI team cuz Quinton de kock scored the most runs in the tour match.

  • on March 7, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Where is Kallis? Is he injured or rested? He is an world class player.