Champions Trophy 2013 May 9, 2013

South Africa missing twin pillars

Without Jacques Kallis and the injured Graeme Smith, South Africa's task to end a 15-year trophy drought has got a lot harder
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Take 45% away from a house and you could be without the foundations, some of the walls and maybe even the roof. Take 45% out a car and it will be minus the engine, the gearbox and perhaps the safety belts. Take 45% out of South Africa's one-day squad and it is missing Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.

Between them, the pair have played 514 ODIs. The remaining squad members have only amassed 652. Had Smith been fit and Kallis not opted out, they would have made up almost half of the experience and would have more games to their name than all the remaining batsmen collectively.

Kallis alone has played more matches than all of the bowlers combined. He is one of a handful of survivors in the international game from the inaugural Champions Trophy. He was part of the 1998 South Africa team that won what was then called the Wills International Cup but has not been able to add major tournament silverware to his CV since then.

Neither have South Africa. Now they will attempt to break the 15 year trophy drought without two of their sturdiest pillars. But what do they miss out on besides experience? After all, in 12 tournaments after that - four World Cups, four World Twenty20s and four Champions Trophies - South Africa returned empty handed despite having the services of both Smith and Kallis for all but one event. Smith did not play the last World T20 in Sri Lanka but Kallis was recalled to the format specifically for the competition.

In fact, some of the time the two heavyweights were deemed the cause of the team's shortcomings at major tournaments, especially the 2007 one. Smith and Kallis were among those accused of being unfit in West Indies and Kallis was blamed for dramatically slowing down the chase in a group stage match against Australia in that World Cup.

But those examples are exceptions. More often than not, the pair are credited for forming the consistent base that has allowed South Africa to win matches and series, albeit not the most important ones.

On reputation alone, they would earn a place in most teams. Kallis' two-in-one ability has given South Africa what Gary Kirsten often calls a 12th man who does more than carry drinks. Smith has frequently come under the spotlight for being out of form in the 50-over game but he always rectifies that with important innings at important times. Since January last year, he has notched up three half-centuries and two hundreds but it is not the numbers that illustrate his real worth, especially not this time.

It is Smith's value as a captain without the title that will be missed most because AB de Villiers is still uncertain in the job. De Villiers has admitted he is still finding his feet and that is obvious in some of his decision-making, such as fielding positions and bowling changes. Over the last summer, Smith was obviously assisting him with both despite having relinquished the leadership role after the 2011 World Cup.

With de Villiers also taking up the wicketkeeping role permanently in ODIs, he needs as much senior counsel as can be provided. In Smith and Kallis he had two of the best. With both gone, he is now the most experienced man left and will have to rely on the willingness of Hashim Amla and instincts of Faf du Plessis to assist where needed.

There is also the question of how South Africa will strengthen their top-order without the big two. One of the solutions could involve bringing Kallis back. The selectors will have to ask if he feels his mental state is up to making the trip, because that was the reason Kallis cited when he asked to be left out. There's a chance they may succeed, because Kallis has always been a man who responds to what he thinks is his duty.

Without Smith, Kallis may be told the team needs him and he will likely agree no matter what his own feelings. Should Kallis come back in, he will occupy his usual spot at No. 3 in the batting order, which would require someone, like du Plessis, to play a makeshift role at the top. The same would apply if an allrounder like Chris Morris, who has had a good IPL, is called up.

South Africa may not want to go into a major tournament with players operating out of position so they could seek a like-for-like replacement for Smith and keep Colin Ingram at No.3. Four candidates stand out, with Henry Davids leading the pack.

The Titans' opener is a classy strokeplayer, was the third-highest scorer in the domestic one-day cup, in which he averaged 40.90, and has played four T20s for South Africa and scored two fifties. He has been around for long enough to have developed a level head and is a confident and serious man, who will understand the importance of the role if it is given to him.

Quinton de Kock is the popular choice. The young wicketkeeper-batsmen made his name at the Lions through powerful hitting and caught the eye of the national selectors last season. He played three T20s and four ODIs, including one as a replacement for Smith against Pakistan in February, without much success. He is currently at the IPL where he has made scores of 2, 0 and 4 for Sunrisers Hyderabad. His inexperience will work against him, especially because South Africa cannot take gambles at this stage.

For that reason, they may turn to Alviro Petersen, even though he has not played an ODI since January 2012. Petersen is currently with Somerset and has adjusted well to conditions in the UK. In his first two Championships matches he scored 437 runs, including two hundreds. One was against Smith's Surrey and the national captain said his Test opening partner is hitting the ball better than ever.

The wildcard option is Richard Levi, who topped the one-day cup run charts with 620 runs at 56.36 but has not managed to translate that internationally. Levi has played 13 T20s with the highlight his century against New Zealand but his technical problems against the short ball and spin were exposed soon after. He seems resigned to not being included and put on his Twitter page that there are "plenty men in the country worthy of the spot".

Other names could include the likes Rillee Rossouw, Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook but none of have the gravitas of Smith or Kallis. Then again, who does?

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rana38 on May 15, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Different Note: In champions trophy, there need to be ensure all test playing nation like 2006 Champions Trophy & last three teams of ODI ranking should play off for qualifying the number 8(best of three Newzealand,Bangladesh,Zimbabwe) otherwise it is not the Champions Trophy ,it is only a tornament. Best of luck if you realize.

  • on May 12, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Jacques Rudolph should open :)

  • Ali_86xz on May 11, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Bowling is not a worry for SA. For batting... Amla and De Villiers will hot centuries, Ingram 50. Duminy, Du Plessis and Miller with a perfect finish to take SA to 350. They'll easily win seeing De Villiers form at it's peak.

  • BDHUNTER on May 11, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    SA need match winner who can single handedly dominate & can outplayed (like klusener) any team, at present Smith/Kalis is not a big factor for team, i think SA need to expose some players like Miller,Van Zyl,Qock,Ingram and make sure pipeline is handny.

  • GRVJPR on May 10, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    @CricketMaan I don't agree with your order. For me the correct order of likely winners is India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England.

  • CricketMaan on May 10, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Kallis or no Kallis, Eng, Pak, SL, Aus, Ind in that order are fav to win the cup

  • kiwicricketnut on May 10, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    It wont be long before these guys retire anyway so don't beg kallis back, blood the new guys, its a champions trophy not the world cup and ultimately it wont matter because like nz south africa always choke in the crunch matches. I like south africa being the best side in the world, australia are arrogant when they are at the top, india believe they are the best side in the world despite the fact they are hopeless out of the sub continent, south africa though just get on with the job, no smugness just ruthless. Is this the begining of the end though for south africa, soon no smith, no kallis and no kirsten as coach, are the wheels starting fall off the most well oiled machine, i wish them all the best hopeing for black caps vs proteas final

  • gimme-a-greentop on May 10, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Well, Murphy might have the last say here, with SA doing well despite not having all that experience to draw on, but personally I think experience is more important in Test cricket. Having said that it doesn't hurt to have 2 guys with 500 ODIs between them in the team. Anyway, I think Alviro or Henry Davids should get the spot at the top. To limit Alviro as a Test player only is wasting his talent, as it was quite clear to me from watching the domestic T20 competition that he can hit the ball as well as anyone, plus he has good international experience now from playing hard Test cricket all around the world. Davids should be option 2. Quinton de Kock needs time to translate amazing domestic form to international level, I would suggest he not be pushed too hard at this stage - he is so young! Give him time and space to become comfortable at that level, he will be soon but not yet. If they are desperate for left hand opener get Ingram to open with Alviro, then Amla, AB, Faf and JP.

  • SuperSharky on May 10, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Kallis and Smith's absence is a loss for South Africa. I hope Proteas can give their best squad on merit. 1.A.Petersen 2.H.Amla 3.F.Du Plessis 4.A.De Villiers 5.JP Duminy 6.D.Miller 7.J.Botha 8.A.Morkel 9.V.Philander 10.D.Steyn 11.M.Morkel 12th Man Seibrandt Engelbrecht (Fielding only) 13.R.Mclaren 14.R.Peterson 15.R.Kleinveld fills the squad. (Flying guests should be 16.Q.De Kock 17.R.Levi 18.C.Ingram 19.L.Tsotsobe 20.H.Davids 21.C.Morris 22.F.Berhardien 23.S.Phangiso 24.I.Tahir 25.J.Symes The Proteas has won the first ever Champions Trophy. Let's hope they can finish the last ever Champions Trophy with another Champions Trophy in their ICC Trophy Cabin.

  • on May 10, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    The time has come for SA cricket to move ahead without Smith and Kallis...especially in the shorter formats(50 over & T20). Smiths injury is a blessing in disguise. Alviro will be good replacement to steady the innings upfront..Dekock is still very young...he can wait his turn.

  • Rana38 on May 15, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Different Note: In champions trophy, there need to be ensure all test playing nation like 2006 Champions Trophy & last three teams of ODI ranking should play off for qualifying the number 8(best of three Newzealand,Bangladesh,Zimbabwe) otherwise it is not the Champions Trophy ,it is only a tornament. Best of luck if you realize.

  • on May 12, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Jacques Rudolph should open :)

  • Ali_86xz on May 11, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Bowling is not a worry for SA. For batting... Amla and De Villiers will hot centuries, Ingram 50. Duminy, Du Plessis and Miller with a perfect finish to take SA to 350. They'll easily win seeing De Villiers form at it's peak.

  • BDHUNTER on May 11, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    SA need match winner who can single handedly dominate & can outplayed (like klusener) any team, at present Smith/Kalis is not a big factor for team, i think SA need to expose some players like Miller,Van Zyl,Qock,Ingram and make sure pipeline is handny.

  • GRVJPR on May 10, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    @CricketMaan I don't agree with your order. For me the correct order of likely winners is India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England.

  • CricketMaan on May 10, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Kallis or no Kallis, Eng, Pak, SL, Aus, Ind in that order are fav to win the cup

  • kiwicricketnut on May 10, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    It wont be long before these guys retire anyway so don't beg kallis back, blood the new guys, its a champions trophy not the world cup and ultimately it wont matter because like nz south africa always choke in the crunch matches. I like south africa being the best side in the world, australia are arrogant when they are at the top, india believe they are the best side in the world despite the fact they are hopeless out of the sub continent, south africa though just get on with the job, no smugness just ruthless. Is this the begining of the end though for south africa, soon no smith, no kallis and no kirsten as coach, are the wheels starting fall off the most well oiled machine, i wish them all the best hopeing for black caps vs proteas final

  • gimme-a-greentop on May 10, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Well, Murphy might have the last say here, with SA doing well despite not having all that experience to draw on, but personally I think experience is more important in Test cricket. Having said that it doesn't hurt to have 2 guys with 500 ODIs between them in the team. Anyway, I think Alviro or Henry Davids should get the spot at the top. To limit Alviro as a Test player only is wasting his talent, as it was quite clear to me from watching the domestic T20 competition that he can hit the ball as well as anyone, plus he has good international experience now from playing hard Test cricket all around the world. Davids should be option 2. Quinton de Kock needs time to translate amazing domestic form to international level, I would suggest he not be pushed too hard at this stage - he is so young! Give him time and space to become comfortable at that level, he will be soon but not yet. If they are desperate for left hand opener get Ingram to open with Alviro, then Amla, AB, Faf and JP.

  • SuperSharky on May 10, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Kallis and Smith's absence is a loss for South Africa. I hope Proteas can give their best squad on merit. 1.A.Petersen 2.H.Amla 3.F.Du Plessis 4.A.De Villiers 5.JP Duminy 6.D.Miller 7.J.Botha 8.A.Morkel 9.V.Philander 10.D.Steyn 11.M.Morkel 12th Man Seibrandt Engelbrecht (Fielding only) 13.R.Mclaren 14.R.Peterson 15.R.Kleinveld fills the squad. (Flying guests should be 16.Q.De Kock 17.R.Levi 18.C.Ingram 19.L.Tsotsobe 20.H.Davids 21.C.Morris 22.F.Berhardien 23.S.Phangiso 24.I.Tahir 25.J.Symes The Proteas has won the first ever Champions Trophy. Let's hope they can finish the last ever Champions Trophy with another Champions Trophy in their ICC Trophy Cabin.

  • on May 10, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    The time has come for SA cricket to move ahead without Smith and Kallis...especially in the shorter formats(50 over & T20). Smiths injury is a blessing in disguise. Alviro will be good replacement to steady the innings upfront..Dekock is still very young...he can wait his turn.

  • on May 10, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    put De Kock or Levi - SA always choke and just rather gamble for once!

  • Starboomber on May 10, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    David Miller is already in the team, any of the Lions opening batsman will do including Henry Davids...

  • Marktc on May 10, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    I am not in favour of make-shift players, especially int he top three. You need to replace and opener with another opener. Alviro is playing in England, has experience and is a solid player, so he should be the obvious choice. My problem about throwing young players into these type of tournaments is that if they under-perform, for whatever reason, they are cast aside and it ruins their careers. There is no doubt that losing Kallis and a seemingly in form Smith is a big blow, but without the 'old heads' AB and the bunch may play some new ideas. He has Steyn etc to fall back on so it should work out for the better.

  • VarunAGVU on May 10, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    KALLIS Please come back for the Champions Trophy ................................

  • GRVJPR on May 10, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    Oh now the excuses are coming already. All these years I was heiring that south africa unlike India has 20 players ready for each position to play in international cricket.

  • on May 10, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    This team has been getting stale for a while now. Perhaps its time for a change to make things interesting for viewers. always great to see new talent on show. Not sure who the new guy should be but perhaps we should just stick to the current lot. The cricketing gods have a sense of humour when it comes to SA, at these things.

  • saikrishna246 on May 9, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    actually sa looking strong without smith and kallis.my xi is- 1.amla 2.ingram 3.duplesis 4.devillers 5.duminy 6.miller 7.mclaren 8.peterson 9.styen 10.morne 11. totsobe

  • on May 9, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    Davids will play. Miller not good enough for an ODI side, will always remain a T20 player unless he changes his temperament and technique.

  • on May 9, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    they have told Kallis would play. D Miller is a good choice for CSA. I also suggest if N McKenzie gets another chance, he will also perform for CSA. A Peterson is another good choice. Why CSA are not looking on J Symes And A Morkel? Aren't they more likely? If they get a chance. they can perform well. So SA squad: 1. Amla, 2. De Villiers, 3. Duminy, 4. Du Plessis, 5. Ingram, 6.Miller, 7. Steyn, 8. Morkel, 9. Peterson RJ 10. Mclaren, 11. Tsotsobe, 12. R Klienveldt, 13. Phngiso, 14. F Behardien, 15. Kallis/A Morkel/Peterson A/J Symes/N McKenzie/H Davids

  • Stark62 on May 9, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    Kallis will be a bigger miss because of his all-round ability but I think Smith wasn't in the greatest of nick and was most likely going to be dropped from the playing 11.

    I think a greater loss for the SA team would be Amla and AB because without these two, they would crumble and post a poultry total. These two are the new Kallis and Smith of the team; I would include Steyn but he has a poor ODI record and isn't as good in the ODI format.

  • on May 9, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    I think they should think of Rillee. He has been consistent for the Knights and has been doing well in all formats and has been an opener under Parnell in the U19 tour he played,play the youth.SA selectors always hesitate in this matter.Alviro is just careless and like Levi and de Kock does not price his wicket and may not be suitable for all situations.India and Aus played the youth and they have got returns,especially India with Raina and Kohli.So SA think out of the box,maybe that will help this wonderful cricket team get something that they have deserved all along.

  • axe_hay on May 9, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Has anyone heard of David Wiese ? One of the most powerful hitters of the ball in the country has been constantly ignored by the selectors. Someone who can replace Kallis is him. A fine allrounder , he needs to be groomed to fill that spot once Jacques quits the game. With a 40+ FC average with the bat and 25 with the ball, he should surely be getting the nod for national honours.

  • GeoffreysMother on May 9, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    A very good article indeed. Suddenly, and surprisingly, they seem leadership light particularly if you add in the loss of Boucher and Botha from the squad. Tellingly Kallis never captained, letting him concentrate on his two disciplines, yet De Villiers is going to have to cope with three. I wonder is Stayn will step p in support - bowlers are often overlooked. I would be more than happy if South Africa looked closely at players performance in the IPL. I would however be worried if they looked at people with significant experience in English conditions; particularly with two white balls available at the start. Peterson is a good call, as is Miller who had a good season with Yorkshire last year (but not if he has to come in early). Of course there is Rudolph who had three or four very good seasons at the top of the one day stats in England - playing mostly as an opener. You don't often win major conditions with new kids.

  • jkidst on May 9, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    I am sorry but comments saying Kallis and Smith aren't pillars are ridiculous. Without them both they can still win this tournament and may still be the favourites. The way that the recent fielding restrictions has affected the ODI game means that their experience and test-match status count for a lot. Peterson, Amla, De Villiers, Duminy, Du Plessis, Ingram, Miller is still a heavyweight unit. Peterson, alongside Cook is the best opener in the test-match arena.

  • on May 9, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    this can prove to be blessing in disguise

  • rsnCricketCrazy on May 9, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    Alviro Petersen should be a good choice right know for the proteas, because he has done well enough under pressure in the last tour against the poms .He will be the right candidate to replace smith currently.

  • on May 9, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    It is very disappointing that both Kallis & Smith will miss the trip to England which is going to be the last champions trophy.

  • Cpt.Meanster on May 9, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    If SA choose David Miller then it will become OBVIOUS that IPL performances DO count which is the way it should be. The IPL is actually an international tournament masquerading as an Indian domestic event. It's time everyone accepts that and stops playing the 'self denial' game. Yes, it is T20 cricket but T20 cricket is a lot similar to ODI cricket so having a good IPL is beneficial at the national level.

  • getsetgopk on May 9, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Not so sure about Smith but Kallis absence will definitely reduce SA's chances at CT.

  • Munkeymomo on May 9, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    @Mayan820: Yes, AP is playing for Somerset and in fantastic form. He has great experience in UK conditions (3 years on the trot) and I would say the perfect replacement for Smith.

  • on May 9, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    With due respect, Smith and Kallis are not the pillars of South African batting, it's De Villiers and Amla. Smith bullied NZ at home, but was a walking wicket against quality Pakistan attack. He also didn't fare well in England last year, where SA lost every time Amla scored less than a 50. Kallis hasn't played a single ODI in last 14 months, thats not called a pillar. As a Pak fan, I'd rather have Smith play for SA instead of an Ingram. SA XI should be Amla, De Villiers, Ingram, Faf, Duminy, Miller, Petersen, McLaren, Steyn, Morkel and Tsotsobe.

  • GermanPlayer on May 9, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    I think Peterson, because of being a permanent member of the test team, will be a fine choice to replace Smith. He is a serious guy who has had his problems in international cricket and has overcome them. He knows the dressing room well and should fit in. Additionally, Kirsten and Co would know of his ability to deliver under pressure. These things cannot be said for other players and as we have already seen with Levi an DeKock, international cricket is not easy for newcomers. Put Peterson in I say, he is the closest to what Smith used to offer to SA.

    Mind you, Smith is more a member of the team because of his 'presence' and 'leading by example when it matters' rather than his runs. So we don't need a run-scorer, we need someone who can understand the game and be reliable. Again, none of the other choices offer that because of inexperience.

  • on May 9, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    They can choose David Miller, as he is in good touch in Pepsi IPL.

  • Mayan820 on May 9, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    My choice as Smith's replacement is Alviro Petersen. He has the added advantage over De Kock and Davids that he is already in the UK and, apparently, doing very well there.

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  • Mayan820 on May 9, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    My choice as Smith's replacement is Alviro Petersen. He has the added advantage over De Kock and Davids that he is already in the UK and, apparently, doing very well there.

  • on May 9, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    They can choose David Miller, as he is in good touch in Pepsi IPL.

  • GermanPlayer on May 9, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    I think Peterson, because of being a permanent member of the test team, will be a fine choice to replace Smith. He is a serious guy who has had his problems in international cricket and has overcome them. He knows the dressing room well and should fit in. Additionally, Kirsten and Co would know of his ability to deliver under pressure. These things cannot be said for other players and as we have already seen with Levi an DeKock, international cricket is not easy for newcomers. Put Peterson in I say, he is the closest to what Smith used to offer to SA.

    Mind you, Smith is more a member of the team because of his 'presence' and 'leading by example when it matters' rather than his runs. So we don't need a run-scorer, we need someone who can understand the game and be reliable. Again, none of the other choices offer that because of inexperience.

  • on May 9, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    With due respect, Smith and Kallis are not the pillars of South African batting, it's De Villiers and Amla. Smith bullied NZ at home, but was a walking wicket against quality Pakistan attack. He also didn't fare well in England last year, where SA lost every time Amla scored less than a 50. Kallis hasn't played a single ODI in last 14 months, thats not called a pillar. As a Pak fan, I'd rather have Smith play for SA instead of an Ingram. SA XI should be Amla, De Villiers, Ingram, Faf, Duminy, Miller, Petersen, McLaren, Steyn, Morkel and Tsotsobe.

  • Munkeymomo on May 9, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    @Mayan820: Yes, AP is playing for Somerset and in fantastic form. He has great experience in UK conditions (3 years on the trot) and I would say the perfect replacement for Smith.

  • getsetgopk on May 9, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Not so sure about Smith but Kallis absence will definitely reduce SA's chances at CT.

  • Cpt.Meanster on May 9, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    If SA choose David Miller then it will become OBVIOUS that IPL performances DO count which is the way it should be. The IPL is actually an international tournament masquerading as an Indian domestic event. It's time everyone accepts that and stops playing the 'self denial' game. Yes, it is T20 cricket but T20 cricket is a lot similar to ODI cricket so having a good IPL is beneficial at the national level.

  • on May 9, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    It is very disappointing that both Kallis & Smith will miss the trip to England which is going to be the last champions trophy.

  • rsnCricketCrazy on May 9, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    Alviro Petersen should be a good choice right know for the proteas, because he has done well enough under pressure in the last tour against the poms .He will be the right candidate to replace smith currently.

  • on May 9, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    this can prove to be blessing in disguise