Australia v South Africa, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Colombo September 30, 2012

Muddled South Africa staring at exit

Poor strategy, puzzling selection and persistent unsettledness have been South Africa's weak points this tournament
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Even if their match against India on Tuesday gives them an opportunity to qualify for the semi-finals, South Africa should still conduct a full forensic audit of their performance in the Super Eights so far.

They will find, happily, that pressure has not undone them. The usual big tournament jitters have stayed away but still South Africa have endured two defeats. This time it's poor strategy, puzzling selection and persistent unsettledness which have been their weak points. As a result, they were not able to handle Umar Gul's blitz on Friday and were equally incapable of taming a clinical Shane Watson-led Australia on Sunday.

The gulf between those two methods of being outplayed was so vast that AB de Villiers could not isolate a single area of concern after the loss to Australia. "It's hard to put my finger on it," he said. "We started badly and finished badly as well. So, there is a bit of a bad taste in my mouth at the moment."

In a way, that assessment sums it up perfectly. South Africa's top and bottom are not working as they should and everything in between is suffering because of it.

A glaringly obvious place to start the dissection is the top of the order. Richard Levi's continued failings in the opening berth have to result in a change in that position. The days of riding on the reputation of his century in Hamilton should be over, especially since the only score of substance he has posted since then was a half-century against a half-hearted Zimbabwe.

Levi's technical problem is obvious to even the most junior level bowler. Not only does he struggle to play the ball on the off side but he cannot seem to untie his legs from the spinners' webs. His mandate of aggression from the get-go is never fulfilled because in attempting to show intent, he only shows his stumps.

Faf du Plessis is the only available replacement in the squad for Levi. De Villiers has hinted that Du Plessis may play against India because South Africa "will have to try a few other combinations," but he has not had a great run of form leading in. In hindsight, South Africa may regret leaving out Graeme Smith, their highest run-scorer in T20 cricket, or a player like David Miller, who enjoyed a fruitful stint at Yorkshire during the Friends Life t20.

Even if the Levi issue is solved, South Africa's top three has other problems. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis are fine players in their own right but cannot seem to perform together in a T20 line-up. Kallis was due to open the batting - as announced by convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson when the squad was named - which he does at Kolkata Knight Riders.

There, he bats in-between aggressors Gautam Gambhir and Manvinder Bisla, not one batsman who is out of form and one who is trying to cultivate it. Amla has not been able to take his ODI form and replicate it at T20 level, yet. It may be that he just requires more time, like he did in ODIs, but time is not in abundance at a tournament like the WorldT20.

Below that, South Africa's line-up seems to play the lottery. Sometimes JP Duminy goes in at No. 4, sometimes de Villiers, sometimes Albie Morkel (when he plays), sometimes a new-ish player like Farhaan Berhardien. In trying to be unpredictable, South Africa have actually unravelled. The evidence shows that it is not a tactic that works for them.

Conventional thinking is that the best batsman of the side should face the most balls and that would be de Villiers, based on his ability to improvise and make an impact. He denied that it was him. "My T20 record is probably the worst of the top six," he said. He is wrong. De Villiers is South Africa's third highest T20 run-scorer and has a higher strike rate than both Kallis and Amla.

It may not be modern to resort to a fixed line-up, but it would be sensible. Importantly, it would also give everyone an idea of their role, something that neither batsmen nor bowlers appear to have at the moment.

Dale Steyn has opened the bowling as only he can: with pace, swing and venom. Against Australia, Morne Morkel started well too. Robin Peterson who was the go-to man for almost every match of the 2011 World Cup has not been used first-up in the Super Eights. The success of slower bowlers and his ability against right-handers could see him used in that capacity.

The absence of a distinct fifth bowler has also become a problem. Against Pakistan, Kallis and Albie Morkel did the job but were expensive. Wayne Parnell came in cold, having sat on benches for a while, and was disappointingly wayward against Australia. Meanwhile, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, South Africa's second most economical bowler after Johan Botha, has not played at all. Tsotsobe has slipped in the queue and his clever use of variations seems to have been forgotten.

De Villiers is a new captain and is, by his own admission, still learning. What he lacks is something to study from. South Africa cannot be blamed for wanting to try new things because they were often criticised for lacking innovation but in doing so, they seem to have forgotten their foundations. They need to rediscover those. Then if a player like Gul or Watson takes the game away, there really be nothing more South Africa could have done.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Jester01 on | October 2, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    I'm not really surprised that the team is performing so badly. Our test team only got settle after the loss to Sri Lanka but we still dont know whats our best ODI & T20 team. The reason for that is because we dont play enough cricket. Gary Kirsten and co will need to connect all the dots soon. Parnell and Tsotsobe are new ball bowlers and if they pick either of these two players they should always open the bowling. Parnell was a fantastic in the T20 WC in England 2009, he just needs to get his confidence back. Levi should never play international cricket again, period. I just never thought that Kallis would be so poor, he should also be dropped. I've said from the start Albie should open... with the squad we have, I'll pick:- 1- A.Morkel, 2-F.du Plessis, 3-H.Amla, 4-AB de Villiers, 5-JP Duminy, 6-F.Behardien, 7-J.Botha, 8-R.Peterson, 9-W.Parnell, 10-D.Steyn, 11-M.Morkel.

  • POSTED BY musingsofamoron on | October 1, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    To be termed a choker... one needs to get into a winning position and lose. South Africa have smartly avoided that tag by never getting into a winning position in the first place. Bravo South Africa!!!

  • POSTED BY risimati_l on | October 1, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    am lost for words this is really hurting me, how long will we be the laughing stock of international cricket? although this time we didn't fail because of pressure, against pakistan it was down to some stupid captaincy and against the aussies well we were never in the game. to be honest we have done really well with the players that are selected for over 6 months now until the super 8s of this tournament, however Levi has had his time he needs to go back to school cricket let alone franchise cricket his proven himself useless, cant comment about miller because his had his chances and didn't do well Philander doesn't play T20 his had his chances in ODIs and also failed. we just need to drop Levi with Faf, and pray that the gods are on our side this time

  • POSTED BY on | October 1, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Absolute disaster from the management team!!!

  • POSTED BY vrn59 on | October 1, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    This would be an interesting XI: Smith, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers (wk), Duminy, du Plessis, A Morkel, R Peterson, Botha (C), Steyn, M Morkel. Smith is an underrated T20 batsmen; he can really hit it out of the park. Amla and Kallis aren't quite as aggressive as you'd want them to be, but that's ok, provided they score at a strike rate of 120-130. The bowling attack is fantastic. I'd even consider bringing in Tsotsobe in seaming conditions. Parnell should never be picked again. He is useless: his bowling is expensive and he really can't bat as well as his reputation says.

  • POSTED BY BrilliantEleven on | October 1, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Against Australia, SA were outplayed. Agreed. But they clearly choked against Pakistan. From 76/7, they let Pak come back in the game. U. Gul can not bat so no question of him outbatting anyone. The fear of winning an ICC event is too strong in the SA team.

  • POSTED BY yoohoo on | October 1, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    I have said this before and I'll say this again - You cannot have both Kallis and Amla in the same T20 team coming in at 2 & 3. There is place for only one of them. Both of them play at an SR of 100, and that means unless the other opener (levi in this case) or devilliers in the end fires big time you are not going to get a competitive total. 133 and 146 in subcontinent conditions are below par scores. SA have the bowling to defend a 160-170, but they need to drop either Amla/kallis from the top order of their batting and get someone who can kick on at a better pace.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | October 1, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    I think we need to use T20 to develop young talent as a nusery to feed into ODI and Test cricket. No one really cares about who wins a 20 over slog but we should still use it as a training ground and international exposure. With that said players like Levi need to go, he is a one hit wonder - youngsters like De Kock should be opening instead before he gets pinched by england. Parnell, Ontong and Pietersen always have been and always will be very average cricketers at best. We need to look to our youth.

  • POSTED BY Joey213 on | October 1, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Wish Ab was not the captain so he could focus only on batting and Smith a left hand opener is most important

  • POSTED BY Romanticstud on | October 1, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    The game against Australia was worse than the Pakistani game ... Our batting was stuck in second gear where it goyt to after over 5 ... we may have shifted to 3rd gear but that was it ... Levi has done his time ... Amla and Kallis we bouth in the hut before the coffee was boiled ... Duminy like Amla and Kallis is a container ... If they are getting out how can the rest of the team play with freedom ... Steyn and Morkel bowl well up front ... Australia were 15/1 ... I would have turned to a spinner then ... but they bowled two overs more of pace which then went for 8 and 15 runs ... in a couple of overs the game had shifted from 2nd gear to fourth and fifth gear ... and it didn't matter who to bring on then ... the spinners were 2 overs late ... T20 is about momentum ... Get it keep it ... lose momentum lose the game ...

  • POSTED BY Jester01 on | October 2, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    I'm not really surprised that the team is performing so badly. Our test team only got settle after the loss to Sri Lanka but we still dont know whats our best ODI & T20 team. The reason for that is because we dont play enough cricket. Gary Kirsten and co will need to connect all the dots soon. Parnell and Tsotsobe are new ball bowlers and if they pick either of these two players they should always open the bowling. Parnell was a fantastic in the T20 WC in England 2009, he just needs to get his confidence back. Levi should never play international cricket again, period. I just never thought that Kallis would be so poor, he should also be dropped. I've said from the start Albie should open... with the squad we have, I'll pick:- 1- A.Morkel, 2-F.du Plessis, 3-H.Amla, 4-AB de Villiers, 5-JP Duminy, 6-F.Behardien, 7-J.Botha, 8-R.Peterson, 9-W.Parnell, 10-D.Steyn, 11-M.Morkel.

  • POSTED BY musingsofamoron on | October 1, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    To be termed a choker... one needs to get into a winning position and lose. South Africa have smartly avoided that tag by never getting into a winning position in the first place. Bravo South Africa!!!

  • POSTED BY risimati_l on | October 1, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    am lost for words this is really hurting me, how long will we be the laughing stock of international cricket? although this time we didn't fail because of pressure, against pakistan it was down to some stupid captaincy and against the aussies well we were never in the game. to be honest we have done really well with the players that are selected for over 6 months now until the super 8s of this tournament, however Levi has had his time he needs to go back to school cricket let alone franchise cricket his proven himself useless, cant comment about miller because his had his chances and didn't do well Philander doesn't play T20 his had his chances in ODIs and also failed. we just need to drop Levi with Faf, and pray that the gods are on our side this time

  • POSTED BY on | October 1, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Absolute disaster from the management team!!!

  • POSTED BY vrn59 on | October 1, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    This would be an interesting XI: Smith, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers (wk), Duminy, du Plessis, A Morkel, R Peterson, Botha (C), Steyn, M Morkel. Smith is an underrated T20 batsmen; he can really hit it out of the park. Amla and Kallis aren't quite as aggressive as you'd want them to be, but that's ok, provided they score at a strike rate of 120-130. The bowling attack is fantastic. I'd even consider bringing in Tsotsobe in seaming conditions. Parnell should never be picked again. He is useless: his bowling is expensive and he really can't bat as well as his reputation says.

  • POSTED BY BrilliantEleven on | October 1, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Against Australia, SA were outplayed. Agreed. But they clearly choked against Pakistan. From 76/7, they let Pak come back in the game. U. Gul can not bat so no question of him outbatting anyone. The fear of winning an ICC event is too strong in the SA team.

  • POSTED BY yoohoo on | October 1, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    I have said this before and I'll say this again - You cannot have both Kallis and Amla in the same T20 team coming in at 2 & 3. There is place for only one of them. Both of them play at an SR of 100, and that means unless the other opener (levi in this case) or devilliers in the end fires big time you are not going to get a competitive total. 133 and 146 in subcontinent conditions are below par scores. SA have the bowling to defend a 160-170, but they need to drop either Amla/kallis from the top order of their batting and get someone who can kick on at a better pace.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | October 1, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    I think we need to use T20 to develop young talent as a nusery to feed into ODI and Test cricket. No one really cares about who wins a 20 over slog but we should still use it as a training ground and international exposure. With that said players like Levi need to go, he is a one hit wonder - youngsters like De Kock should be opening instead before he gets pinched by england. Parnell, Ontong and Pietersen always have been and always will be very average cricketers at best. We need to look to our youth.

  • POSTED BY Joey213 on | October 1, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Wish Ab was not the captain so he could focus only on batting and Smith a left hand opener is most important

  • POSTED BY Romanticstud on | October 1, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    The game against Australia was worse than the Pakistani game ... Our batting was stuck in second gear where it goyt to after over 5 ... we may have shifted to 3rd gear but that was it ... Levi has done his time ... Amla and Kallis we bouth in the hut before the coffee was boiled ... Duminy like Amla and Kallis is a container ... If they are getting out how can the rest of the team play with freedom ... Steyn and Morkel bowl well up front ... Australia were 15/1 ... I would have turned to a spinner then ... but they bowled two overs more of pace which then went for 8 and 15 runs ... in a couple of overs the game had shifted from 2nd gear to fourth and fifth gear ... and it didn't matter who to bring on then ... the spinners were 2 overs late ... T20 is about momentum ... Get it keep it ... lose momentum lose the game ...

  • POSTED BY on | October 1, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    poor selection. s.a dont have hard hitter they have only 2batsmen of t20 duminy n deviller. kallis amla n behardin r equal n term of shots which z nt suitable for t20.n levi z gud batsman. why they didnt select gibbs as he can play every kind of shot.

  • POSTED BY Nuxxy on | October 1, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    The best SA team would have been: 1: Q de Kock (not selected); 2: J Kallis; 3: AB de Villiers; 4: F du Plessis; 5: JP Duminy; 6: D Miller; 7: A Morkel; 8: J Botha; 9: R Petersen; 10: D Steyn; 11 M Morkel, with de Kock as keeper and Botha as captain. They got close but made some critical mistakes.

  • POSTED BY gibbs.175 on | October 1, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    it is a shameful to be a supporter of SA ......Order Parnell ,Kallis ,AB ,JP ,A morkel, FD, Du Botha ,peterson Dale, Sobe ...............bt it is too late

  • POSTED BY Romanticstud on | October 1, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    Lets start at the top ... it is fine to open with an Amla or a Kallis at one end ... but then use them as such ... let the other batsmen Levi, De Villiers , Albie Morkel, Du Plessis, Pieterson, Play around them ... Duminy is there if Kallis and Amla both fail ... In the first game The batting at the top couldn't get going ... Now you learn what has kept the scoreboard from ticking ... It was spin bowling ... Now we bowled to start into Pakistan's hands ... Then Pieterson and Botha followed by a wicket from Kallis slowed them down ... Steyn did some damage and it was 76/7 still a mountain away ... you still had 5 overs of the game left 58 runs off 30 balls ... with 3 sticks ... 4 overs of spin left and Kallis and Albie got the ball it was 112/7 2 overs later ... sould still have with the spinners ... but the damage was done ....

  • POSTED BY Seether1 on | October 1, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    A lot of comments here seem to be coming from people who are either very badly educated or do not know the difference between being outplayed and choking. SA did not choke, they were outplayed by a superb Australia! If SA had posted 170/180 and allowed Australia to recover from 100/8 to win, then that would be choking.

  • POSTED BY on | October 1, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    It fails me really,but, why aren't the likes of David Miller,Van de merwe and even philander in Sri Lanka?albie,farhan,Levi all need to be shown the door really.

  • POSTED BY teo. on | October 1, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    1&2. Amla & Kallis.. 3. AB.. 4. JP.. 5. Albie.. 6. Faf.. 7. Peterson.. 8. Botha.. 9. Steyn.. 10. Morkel.. 11. Tsotsobe

    Come guys, we need to win!!!!

  • POSTED BY LazloWoodbine on | October 1, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    We lost. It happens. We've been under-cooked at T20 level for a while now, this isn't choking - that'd be true if we'd lost to an out of form team at this point. Fact is, Australia are playing superbly and fully deserved to win. Better in all departments, and are showing themselves to be favourites for this tournament in my view. I have not been a fan of the AB De Villiers captaincy - I think it's too much to ask the guy to do al three jobs well, and he showed very poor judgement in the last two games. Levi looked desperate and poor old Behardien just looked like a deer in headlights. They'll both learn from this, though, and hopefully come back wiser.

  • POSTED BY Newlandsfaithful on | October 1, 2012, 5:56 GMT

    I'd like the opportunity to design the next Proteas uniform. Instead of a name on the back, you just put the word "FAIL". That about sums up this team's T20 abilities.

  • POSTED BY Shongololo on | October 1, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Stupid selections have cost us here..and it's not limited to Levi, as Firdose seems to think. Yes, Levi must go as he's little more than a clubber who occasionally, infrequently, comes good. Behardien must go as he is of the same ilk. You can't poke around like Behardien does, certainly not in T20. And Parnell is the poor man's Albie Morkel. His bowling is crapper, his batting, too, so why replace one mediocre player with an even more mediocre one?? As I've said before - and given the squad we have in Sri Lanka - AB and Hash, as our best batsmen, must open. Then Faf, JP, Kallis, Ontong, Botha, Peterson, Steyn, Morkel and Tsotsobe. That gives you six specialist batsmen, five specialist bowlers, part time spin otions from Faf, JP and Ontong, and Kallis as the genuine allrounder. But I fear this will be too little, too late...and we'll be on a plane home come Wednesday morning.

  • POSTED BY VivtheGreatest on | October 1, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    @Kapil_Choudhary, LOL!! That was hilarious. But seriously why isnt Philander in their team?

  • POSTED BY on | October 1, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    SA got combination wrong. Just like WC 2011 QF, too many bowlers, too few batsmen.

  • POSTED BY Kapil_Choudhary on | October 1, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    South Africa are now so afraid of choking that they can't even allow themselves to reach a knock out match. They are so worried about possibly choking later that they are already choking on the possibility.

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | October 1, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    "Then if a player like Gul or Watson takes the game away, there really be nothing more South Africa could have done." Um, the Watson bit I get, but "a player like Gul"? The guy is a total batting bunny, averaging ten or less in all three formats of the game. He had scored a TOTAL of little over 100 runs in nearly 50 T20s before smashing Morkel all over the park in that game - when the game was as good as won. No wonder SA are "demoralized". But then again, true self-belief has to rise above the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Stuff happens. Look at AUS after they were bowled out for 47 vs SA - total humiliation! But then they came back to score 300+ in the 4th innings to win the next test! Not taking anything away from SA's recent performances in tests and ODIs, though. T20 can be a bit of a lottery.

  • POSTED BY Paulk on | October 1, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    In Tests and ODI - especially the former - SA players seem to know exactly what roles they play, the tempo that they play in and when to accelerate and when to defend. It appears the players don't quite know their roles in Twenty20 and dont seem to have either a settled batting order or strategy. I dont think its choking as much as having the right players in the right places and performing their roles. Opening with Kallis/Amla + Du Plessis (he did well opening for Chennai) and followed by AB at 3 might be the way to go.

  • POSTED BY binojpeter on | October 1, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    I think South Africa should play: Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Robin Peterson, Albie Morkel, Faf du Plessis, Johan Botha, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

  • POSTED BY cricketfannik on | October 1, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    They have only themselve to blame. Poor captaincy by Abe in fist game. PAK were 77/7 and Petersen bowled 2 overs for 10 and JP duminy 2 overs for 5 and when most of the wkts taken by spinners still what the hell came in the mind of their captain to bowl with Kallis and Morkel shameful i thought he should have learn by the time staying with likes of boucher , kallis and smith and whats more pathetic is none of the senior player came over to discuss. seriously SA has shown that they are chokers. cant use their best team peoperly. Albe Morkel should play leave Levi out ask Morkel to open with Amla or kallis.but still its unbelivable that Divillerers gave overs to medium pacers when spinners were doing great. he is not captain material so is Ross Taylor they dont discuss just go out there and relax. Pathetic SA

  • POSTED BY gzawilliam on | October 1, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    I think its obvious what SA are doing wrong here. Ian Chappell said it aswell. Pick your best international class team. Not players with domestic reputation and poor technique. Levi is the prime example.

    The team should be in batting order. Kallis,Amla,Devillers,Duminy,Albie Morkel,Faf,Behairden,Peterson,Botha,Steyn,M.Morkel

    Get your best batsmen in early just like Aus are doing with hussey at 3

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 1, 2012, 1:39 GMT

    @Chris Sun - re: choking, IMO, this was not at all about choking. The Saffas were outplayed on the day, & do have some confusing selection & team strategies. Choking would be IF, having scored 160 odd, & having Oz 4/30 off 8 overs, they then lose by dropping catches bowling wides etc or if batting 2nd they needed 7 runs off the last over with 5 wickets in hand & end up getting 5 runs!

  • POSTED BY RoJayao on | October 1, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    Maybe DeVilliers is showing the signs of stress at being captain, the sides best batsmen and it's full time keeper?! And perhaps that new role (as keeper) may translate into test cricket. Plus they've lost their best slipper by giving him the gloves. Much to think about SA or Australia may just surprise you in 5 weeks time.

  • POSTED BY on | October 1, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    @RandyOz, good one mate. England are minnows. So what are SA? More than minnows when compared to Australia. Looks like AUS will steamroll SA in the test series. Kallis is 2 weeks short of his 37th birthday and is playing T20 cricket! Give me a break.

  • POSTED BY on | September 30, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    SA are still choking. Big tournaments, never winning in the moment. I guess you can only win against England in test series. Why not play England every year and then dump ODI and T20s instead. Kallis and Amla are slow pokes. Very good test and ODI players but not so good T20 players. This is a whole different ballgame. Proves that SA can't be no.1 like this in T20.

  • POSTED BY BG4cricket on | September 30, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    Great article and I can't help but agree that the batting has been the real issue for Sth Africa. I would open with de Villiers as well but would pair him Kallis and leave Amla at 3 and promote Duminy to 4. I would play Albie Morkel as a specialist 5 and du Plessis at 6 with Peterson, Botha, Steyn and Morne Morkel. They need their best bats at the top and it was unbelievable that AB would bat 6 against Pakistan, especially as he looked in pretty good touch. I think the article is spot on in confusing selection and strategy costing them a place in the semis

  • POSTED BY on | September 30, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    Levi should be dropped. So then Either faf and Amla, A Morkel and Amla (Brave, but worth a try) or Kallis and Amla to open.

  • POSTED BY TharinduChat on | September 30, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    I was wondering all the time where were Smith, Miller, Ingram or Bosman? Surely they can't do much worse than Levi, Amla and Kallis.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | September 30, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    South Africa have two test players and a club player in their top 3. That sums it up and they deserve what they get, it's vital to make a good start. I would have Faf opening (as he does in IPL and also brings spin and great fielding) with either Kallis or Amla (Kallis on quick pitches Amla on spinning tracks). At 3 I would have someone like David Miller, but seeing as he's not here I'd promote AB. India use Kohli at the top of the order, SA have AB at 5/6 - madness.

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | September 30, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Tsotsobe is not playing because he was clearly unfit and unmotivated in England.

    Levi has to be dropped, agreed, and Kallis has to open. Then Amla can bat 3, but AB has to bat 4, Duminy 5 and Behardien or Morkel 6, depending on status of the match. Parnell has regressed horrendously in 3 years, clearly he requires some strict intervention from someone, or he must be let go. And then AB has to back Botha and Peterson for 4 overs each, along with Steyn and Morkel M, so he only needs 4 overs from Kallis, A Morkel and Duminy. If in doubt - Duminy.

    But we basically have no backup in the squad, as Ontong is a never been, Levi must go back to Cobras and do some dieting, Tsotsobe must change his attitude.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | September 30, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    Probably got overconfident after beating England. It usually happens when you defeat minnows.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | September 30, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    I am at a loss to fathom this. How can South Africa fail like this in ICC events? Today I was present at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and the way SA fielded, they looked so demoralized. Their body language was not positive. Wonder if they are tired after a long tour of England.

  • POSTED BY M00DZ on | September 30, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Dear Gary

    If u're reading this, please consider this line-up: 1. Amla 2. De Villers 3. Kallis 4. Duminy 5. Peterson 6. Du Plessis 7. Ontong 8. Botha 9. Steyn 10. M.Morkel 11. Tsotsobe My reasons for this line-up are : 1. Levi hasn't done anything since Hamilton and has blundered his opportunities. 2. AB needs to face more balls, I'd even go as far as letting him open with Amla and moving Kallis to No.3. 3. Faf is a great feilder and a spin option but is going through a bad patch with the bat, thats why I've put Robbie above him, Play ur in-form guys first. 4. Albie isn't doing wat his in the team to do and Parnell is basically selling runs the boy can't seem to do anything right at the moment, so give Lopsy a run, can't hurt much more than wat Albie and Parnell have done.

    I don't mean to seem overly critical, just passionate about the team and sport I love so much - Forever Proteas.

  • POSTED BY on | September 30, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    Their team selection is just wrong. Levi and Behardien are liabilities. Albie/du Plessis and Amla should open.

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  • POSTED BY on | September 30, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    Their team selection is just wrong. Levi and Behardien are liabilities. Albie/du Plessis and Amla should open.

  • POSTED BY M00DZ on | September 30, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Dear Gary

    If u're reading this, please consider this line-up: 1. Amla 2. De Villers 3. Kallis 4. Duminy 5. Peterson 6. Du Plessis 7. Ontong 8. Botha 9. Steyn 10. M.Morkel 11. Tsotsobe My reasons for this line-up are : 1. Levi hasn't done anything since Hamilton and has blundered his opportunities. 2. AB needs to face more balls, I'd even go as far as letting him open with Amla and moving Kallis to No.3. 3. Faf is a great feilder and a spin option but is going through a bad patch with the bat, thats why I've put Robbie above him, Play ur in-form guys first. 4. Albie isn't doing wat his in the team to do and Parnell is basically selling runs the boy can't seem to do anything right at the moment, so give Lopsy a run, can't hurt much more than wat Albie and Parnell have done.

    I don't mean to seem overly critical, just passionate about the team and sport I love so much - Forever Proteas.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | September 30, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    I am at a loss to fathom this. How can South Africa fail like this in ICC events? Today I was present at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and the way SA fielded, they looked so demoralized. Their body language was not positive. Wonder if they are tired after a long tour of England.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | September 30, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    Probably got overconfident after beating England. It usually happens when you defeat minnows.

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | September 30, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Tsotsobe is not playing because he was clearly unfit and unmotivated in England.

    Levi has to be dropped, agreed, and Kallis has to open. Then Amla can bat 3, but AB has to bat 4, Duminy 5 and Behardien or Morkel 6, depending on status of the match. Parnell has regressed horrendously in 3 years, clearly he requires some strict intervention from someone, or he must be let go. And then AB has to back Botha and Peterson for 4 overs each, along with Steyn and Morkel M, so he only needs 4 overs from Kallis, A Morkel and Duminy. If in doubt - Duminy.

    But we basically have no backup in the squad, as Ontong is a never been, Levi must go back to Cobras and do some dieting, Tsotsobe must change his attitude.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | September 30, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    South Africa have two test players and a club player in their top 3. That sums it up and they deserve what they get, it's vital to make a good start. I would have Faf opening (as he does in IPL and also brings spin and great fielding) with either Kallis or Amla (Kallis on quick pitches Amla on spinning tracks). At 3 I would have someone like David Miller, but seeing as he's not here I'd promote AB. India use Kohli at the top of the order, SA have AB at 5/6 - madness.

  • POSTED BY TharinduChat on | September 30, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    I was wondering all the time where were Smith, Miller, Ingram or Bosman? Surely they can't do much worse than Levi, Amla and Kallis.

  • POSTED BY on | September 30, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    Levi should be dropped. So then Either faf and Amla, A Morkel and Amla (Brave, but worth a try) or Kallis and Amla to open.

  • POSTED BY BG4cricket on | September 30, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    Great article and I can't help but agree that the batting has been the real issue for Sth Africa. I would open with de Villiers as well but would pair him Kallis and leave Amla at 3 and promote Duminy to 4. I would play Albie Morkel as a specialist 5 and du Plessis at 6 with Peterson, Botha, Steyn and Morne Morkel. They need their best bats at the top and it was unbelievable that AB would bat 6 against Pakistan, especially as he looked in pretty good touch. I think the article is spot on in confusing selection and strategy costing them a place in the semis

  • POSTED BY on | September 30, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    SA are still choking. Big tournaments, never winning in the moment. I guess you can only win against England in test series. Why not play England every year and then dump ODI and T20s instead. Kallis and Amla are slow pokes. Very good test and ODI players but not so good T20 players. This is a whole different ballgame. Proves that SA can't be no.1 like this in T20.