Fast bowlers December 8, 2009

All you need is speed

At times it seems fast bowlers are all South Africa's got. But with each as potent as the next, picking just two won't be easy
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There's a line in Hunter S Thompson's mad road movie of a book, Hell's Angels, that sums up South Africa's relationship with fast bowling. Having admired the bikers' gleaming machines from a distance for several minutes, a couple of gawking youngsters dared to come within earshot of their foreboding owners. "We like your bikes, man. They're really sharp," one said. "I'm glad you like them," came the wistful reply from an Angel nicknamed Gut. "They're all we have."

In the same way, South Africa are a team to be reckoned with. But sometimes all they seem to have are their fast bowlers. Fortunately for the South Africans, they seem to unearth quality quicks almost as frequently as the Angels used to land themselves in trouble.

Unlike in other regions renowned for producing pacemen - the Caribbean and Pakistan, for instance - South African conditions are tailormade for those who yearn to remove batsmen with indecent haste, or at least to knock their blocks off. Fast pitches that aren't short of bounce are standard issue in the country. But that hardly makes South Africa unique. Rather, it's the lateral movement that these surfaces offer that spurs the bowlers on. Add the legendary South African work ethic and a large dollop of natural athleticism, throw in the trademark aggressive swagger, temper it all with mental toughness, and supply fielders who will catch or stop almost anything, and it isn't difficult to see where all those fast bowlers come from.

They tend to take their wickets with sheer pace and persistence, and they can be close to unplayable on responsive surfaces. But there is a lack of craftiness to their bowling that reveals itself on flat pitches. The ability to swing the ball through the air is also a rare gift in South Africa.

Bloodyminded captains who insist on blasting out opposing teams have played their own role in shaping the South African fast-bowling mindset. Above all, simplicity rules in the land of the Protea. And there is nothing as uncomplicated as a stump cartwheeling through the air even as the stricken batsman is frozen at the crease. Herewith, a magnificent seven adept at doing exactly that and more.

Shaun Pollock
Not remotely nasty, nor uncouth or lacking in human warmth. In fact, not even that fast. But a finer quick bowler would be hard to find.

Allan Donald
Fast, furious and frequently fatal. Genuine talent is a far rarer commodity in South Africa than guts and grit, and he possessed some of the rarest talent ever found anywhere. Better yet, he made the most of it.

Neil Adcock
Injuries forced him to become one of the first non-West Indians to realise that bowling chest-on was significantly easier on the body. Perhaps the quickest in the game in his prime.

Makhaya Ntini
Much more than South Africa's first African Test player, as some might prefer to remember him. A tireless titan who has sweated buckets for his mountain of wickets. The thumping heart of the South African team.

Dale Steyn
Seemed wary of his own extreme pace early in his career, as if he might injure himself as well as the batsman. He duly made a false start, but maturity has come quickly. Now he couldn't care less about the batsmen.

Peter Pollock
Started cricketing life as an opening batsman, moved on to become one of the game's premier fast bowlers, fathered another world-class paceman, and served as South Africa's selection chief. Perhaps he should be on the allrounders' shortlist.

Fanie de Villiers
The leading South African fast bowler of the years immediately after his team's readmission. Relentless, quick and always astute, he may have been seen as a limited-overs specialist initially, but had plenty more to offer.

We'll be publishing an all-time South Africa XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your fast bowlers click here

Telford Vice made his Test debut as a cricket writer in Barbados in 1992 - the match that marked the end of South Africa's isolation

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sweetspot on December 11, 2009, 11:16 GMT

    It may be good to have a battery of fast bowlers while playing in SA conditions, but not having variety will hurt any team while travelling to other countries and different conditions. In the shorter version of the game, with extreme batting friendly conditions, even high quality pace attacks are taken apart these days, but a spinner like Van Der Merwe, ah! Can he spring a surprise or two! To me, South Africa are the most exciting spectacle physically, given their fielding is always top class. Their batting looks great because of chaps like Duminy and Kallis, but their bowling, right now, apart from Steyn, doesn't look all that threatening. And even Steyn goes for a few in rubbish pyjama pitches.

  • sabbir_ahmed_sajib on December 11, 2009, 8:43 GMT

    if we have to pick 2 specialist pacer it has to be Donald and Ntini

  • TravelBandit on December 10, 2009, 14:12 GMT

    @ manasvi_lingam : Yes, I know about Colin Bland's batting prowess - 1669 runs in 21 tests at 49.09 are excellent figures. However, he was primarily in my team as 12'th man so that he could field if need be!

    Regarding Jonty Rhodes - I don't want to knock Jonty Rhodes, for whom I have the greatest respect as a player and true sportsman, but unfortunately his batting skills weren't quite up to test match standard. In today's world he would be an ideal ODI/T20 specialist.

  • TravelBandit on December 10, 2009, 14:06 GMT

    @ narenvs : Thanks, glad you liked my team! I've been following cricket for 35 years and have read loads about the players of old. It was tough leaving Aubrey Faulkner out, but he just didn't quite make it as a batsman or bowler, and there was no more room for another allrounder. Same with Clive Rice. Both of these were awesome, all-time greats, but did not quite make my SA XI. Vince van der Bijl was an automatic choice, as other people have commented on as well. What a great player he was, and useful as a lower order batsman as well.

  • Curlybrownitem on December 10, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    Of all the omissions so far, Van der Bijl is perhaps the most glaring - arguably the best bowler never to play a test, while one has been included who played only 18 in the modern era AND managed to bowl his own side out by hitting Devon Malcolm on the helmet! Le Roux is another obvious omission. Of those selected its Donald and S Pollock for me Some have said Pollock wasn't quick enough to open in this company but, with respect, that's irrelevant, because Procter and Donald would open most of the time. Interesting that SP has been included in both this list as well as in the all-rounders: in my view, Rice should have been in the AR list instead, SP being primarily an outstanding bowler who also bats well. Like a few others, I 'd want to pick 3 of these and no spinner (especially as I've got Faulkner and Procter): since can't have big Vince, it would be Peter Pollock.

  • heathrf1974 on December 10, 2009, 1:35 GMT

    As an Aussie, Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald did not trouble Aussie batsmen as much as they should have, so I think they're overrated. Fanie De Villiers I believe was a better bowler than those two. However, I would pick Dale Steyn and Peter Pollock for my team. They have consitently troubled all teams.

  • Azfar on December 9, 2009, 22:25 GMT

    It is quite surpising to see that the list has only 2 bowlers from the pre-1974 era. Also Fanie De Villiers inclusion is quite a surprise. He was never genuinely quick. In fact Kallis should have been considered given the fact that he has taken more then 200 wickets in Tests & ODI's.

  • Engle on December 9, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    The simple selection is picking Alan Donald. After that, one has to decide who best to select to complement him. That person would have to be effective, yet different from AD. Variety is important to counter an opposing batsmen's strengths. Is there anything Adcock can do that AD cannot do better ? Is there anything that S.Pollock can do that AD cannot do better ? My leaning is towards the latter question, with S.Pollocks probing line and control. So, Shaun surely secures the speed slot with the added bonus of his batting. Though I have this faint feeling the selectors will go for Adcock for era representative reasons.

  • Clodbuster on December 9, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Hugh Tayfield is the only spinner being considered - what about John Traicos. True he played for both SA and Zimbabwe but so did Bland, Procter and Tayfield. Still among the best at 40 - surely he must be considered.

  • Milan31 on December 9, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    I think its premature to say this but i guess if given the opportunity Morne Morkel will be the lethal bowler in the world now.

  • sweetspot on December 11, 2009, 11:16 GMT

    It may be good to have a battery of fast bowlers while playing in SA conditions, but not having variety will hurt any team while travelling to other countries and different conditions. In the shorter version of the game, with extreme batting friendly conditions, even high quality pace attacks are taken apart these days, but a spinner like Van Der Merwe, ah! Can he spring a surprise or two! To me, South Africa are the most exciting spectacle physically, given their fielding is always top class. Their batting looks great because of chaps like Duminy and Kallis, but their bowling, right now, apart from Steyn, doesn't look all that threatening. And even Steyn goes for a few in rubbish pyjama pitches.

  • sabbir_ahmed_sajib on December 11, 2009, 8:43 GMT

    if we have to pick 2 specialist pacer it has to be Donald and Ntini

  • TravelBandit on December 10, 2009, 14:12 GMT

    @ manasvi_lingam : Yes, I know about Colin Bland's batting prowess - 1669 runs in 21 tests at 49.09 are excellent figures. However, he was primarily in my team as 12'th man so that he could field if need be!

    Regarding Jonty Rhodes - I don't want to knock Jonty Rhodes, for whom I have the greatest respect as a player and true sportsman, but unfortunately his batting skills weren't quite up to test match standard. In today's world he would be an ideal ODI/T20 specialist.

  • TravelBandit on December 10, 2009, 14:06 GMT

    @ narenvs : Thanks, glad you liked my team! I've been following cricket for 35 years and have read loads about the players of old. It was tough leaving Aubrey Faulkner out, but he just didn't quite make it as a batsman or bowler, and there was no more room for another allrounder. Same with Clive Rice. Both of these were awesome, all-time greats, but did not quite make my SA XI. Vince van der Bijl was an automatic choice, as other people have commented on as well. What a great player he was, and useful as a lower order batsman as well.

  • Curlybrownitem on December 10, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    Of all the omissions so far, Van der Bijl is perhaps the most glaring - arguably the best bowler never to play a test, while one has been included who played only 18 in the modern era AND managed to bowl his own side out by hitting Devon Malcolm on the helmet! Le Roux is another obvious omission. Of those selected its Donald and S Pollock for me Some have said Pollock wasn't quick enough to open in this company but, with respect, that's irrelevant, because Procter and Donald would open most of the time. Interesting that SP has been included in both this list as well as in the all-rounders: in my view, Rice should have been in the AR list instead, SP being primarily an outstanding bowler who also bats well. Like a few others, I 'd want to pick 3 of these and no spinner (especially as I've got Faulkner and Procter): since can't have big Vince, it would be Peter Pollock.

  • heathrf1974 on December 10, 2009, 1:35 GMT

    As an Aussie, Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald did not trouble Aussie batsmen as much as they should have, so I think they're overrated. Fanie De Villiers I believe was a better bowler than those two. However, I would pick Dale Steyn and Peter Pollock for my team. They have consitently troubled all teams.

  • Azfar on December 9, 2009, 22:25 GMT

    It is quite surpising to see that the list has only 2 bowlers from the pre-1974 era. Also Fanie De Villiers inclusion is quite a surprise. He was never genuinely quick. In fact Kallis should have been considered given the fact that he has taken more then 200 wickets in Tests & ODI's.

  • Engle on December 9, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    The simple selection is picking Alan Donald. After that, one has to decide who best to select to complement him. That person would have to be effective, yet different from AD. Variety is important to counter an opposing batsmen's strengths. Is there anything Adcock can do that AD cannot do better ? Is there anything that S.Pollock can do that AD cannot do better ? My leaning is towards the latter question, with S.Pollocks probing line and control. So, Shaun surely secures the speed slot with the added bonus of his batting. Though I have this faint feeling the selectors will go for Adcock for era representative reasons.

  • Clodbuster on December 9, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Hugh Tayfield is the only spinner being considered - what about John Traicos. True he played for both SA and Zimbabwe but so did Bland, Procter and Tayfield. Still among the best at 40 - surely he must be considered.

  • Milan31 on December 9, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    I think its premature to say this but i guess if given the opportunity Morne Morkel will be the lethal bowler in the world now.

  • manasvi_lingam on December 9, 2009, 5:23 GMT

    @ TravelBandit

    Bland was a mighry handy batsman too as compared to Jonty in Tests. An average of close to 50, coupled to him saving 20+ runs per innings would give him an average of 70 runs, higher than anyone save the great Bradman.

  • narenvs on December 8, 2009, 23:34 GMT

    I like TravelBandit's team. Only, I'd replace Barlow with Faulkner, and have Bruce Mitchell open with Barry Richards. And I'd give a serious thought to replacing Tayfield with Adcock. I too wonder why van der Bijl was left out - perhaps because he didn't play tests. But, he was a step or move above Shaun Pollock, de Villiers and Ntini, and at least as good a bowler as Peter Pollock. While S.Africa richly deserved the apartheid ban, it was probably at its best just before and during it - the 1960s & 1970s. The Pollock brothers, Barry Richards, Procter, Clive Rice, Barlow, Goddard, Ackerman, van der Bijl, le Roux, Lindsay!

  • qkfriend on December 8, 2009, 21:29 GMT

    Where is Mike Proctor? cant believe he is not in best 5

  • origal on December 8, 2009, 21:20 GMT

    Where is Peter Heine and Goofy Lawrence Eddie Fuller deVilliers doesnt even rank next to these 3

  • nafzak on December 8, 2009, 20:42 GMT

    I just hope that when they pick the WEST INDIES team they don't limit us to just 2 fast bowlers. In fact, they should pick 2 or 3 West Indies team and we'll beat anybody's all time team with any one of our 3 teams. Imagine.. Holding, Croft, Garner, Ambrose, Roberts, Marshall, Walsh, Griffith, Hall...and the list goes on.

  • rson on December 8, 2009, 19:33 GMT

    Donald and Adcock would seem to be the best.However Adcock might have to make way for whichever of Shaun Pollock or Procter fails to make it as an all-rounder.

  • brains on December 8, 2009, 19:29 GMT

    Bloody useless system - it's all very well having Neil Adcock in the list but what happened to him when I went to vote. His name was conspicuous by it's absence!!

  • Schorpie on December 8, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    I am not going to vote anymore, since Van der Bijl is not included.

  • MaraudingJ on December 8, 2009, 17:21 GMT

    UGH! Only TWO? I only get to pick TWO? How am I supposed to pick two out of Adcock, Pollock, Pollock, and Donald? And then I'm not even looking at Steyn or Ntini! Curses!

  • peterhrt on December 8, 2009, 16:11 GMT

    South Africa's greatest bowler on paper has been excluded by the ground rules. Vintcent van der Bijl's average in first-class cricket is the lowest anywhere in the world since 1940. His 4.9 wickets per match is the highest among all pace bowlers during that time. Van der Bijl has also taken more first-class wickets in South Africa than anyone, a record unlikely to be beaten. In his one season in England he was, by common consent, the best bowler in the country. The absence of Test cricket during van der Bijl's time was out of his control and hardly made him a lesser bowler. A true all-time team cannot be chosen while ignoring twenty years of cricket history, particularly as it was a time when some of the finest of all South African players were at their peak.

  • thirdmanboundary on December 8, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    Shaun Pollock not that fast? When starting playing test cricket he was ferociously quick. He had a high gather, a lethal throat ball, and held the currie cup record for the number of times he'd hit the helmet in a season. At peak speed (when he was combining brilliantly with Donald, before Donald's decline), Pollock is an automatic selection. Because of the depth of the SA's all rounders, the side can field 4 quicks: Donald, S Pollock, Proctor, and Steyn. Awesome.

  • WQURESHI on December 8, 2009, 14:51 GMT

    I THINK DALE STYNE & SHAUN POLLOCK IS BEST EVER OPENING BOWLER FOR AFRICA COZ POLLOCK STEADY WITH HIS LINE O LENGTH & STYNE IS PEACY & NIPPY

  • TravelBandit on December 8, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    My best ever SA team would be:

    B Richards E Barlow (c) B Mitchell G Pollock J Kallis D Nourse M Procter J Waite (w) V van der Bijl H Tayfield A Donald C Bland (12)

    Close call between Colin Bland and Jonty Rhodes for the 12'th man position, but Bland shades it for his consistent ability to throw down the stumps from the boundary. Those who saw him field reckoned he was the greatest fielder the game had ever seen.

  • StJohn on December 8, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    No Clive Rice? Don't understand why he didn't appear in the all-rounders section if not here. Probably because he never played Test cricket - possibly the best all-rounder that Test cricket never had.

  • mickeyt on December 8, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    It is a travesty that Vince van der Bijl is not included -

    http://www.cricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/47683.html

    a First Class average of 16.5, not bad for someone who also had a day job!!

  • 2Smart on December 8, 2009, 13:09 GMT

    Who forgot to add Tayfielf to the list? Also, we have the best all-rounders; Barlow, Goddard, Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Procter, McMIllas - at least 2 per era!!

  • Idol on December 8, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    It would be delightful to have a father-son duo share the new ball. But since Shaun is already there as my all rounder, Peter and Allan it well be for me

  • aamirb48 on December 8, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    How can anyone make such a list and exclude Mike Proctor?

  • sheikhasim on December 8, 2009, 10:34 GMT

    haha, batsy's comments made me laugh, just to correct you my friend, allan donald and glen mcgrath could not swing the ball one inch... its only wasim akram who was the king of swing.. shaun pollock not sure if could or couldnt..

  • Ginosar on December 8, 2009, 10:31 GMT

    I do believe in tests , Donald and Adcock would've been some of the best opening attacks ever, working in tandem. Of course they'll need assistance from fast and bouncy pitches, and therefor I can not see them being the opening salvo when playing on the Sub-continent however.

  • Clodbuster on December 8, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    Strike rate is all important for an opening partnership AD at 47 and Steyn at 39 balls/wkt get my vote. Link that with Procter's 36 balls/wkt you've got a serious battery of attack. Procter and Steyn both swing the ball at pace. AD - tall and bouncy.

  • Dazzling_Devil on December 8, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    Brett Schultz & Mfuneko Ngam were also super quicks...... n quite talented........ but were destroyed by injuries. They could have been world class bowlers had they played longer !! :(

  • bestbuddy on December 8, 2009, 9:38 GMT

    I agree with jay_za, an SA cricket team can't fit into the same mold as other teams - frankly enither could new zealand, who have relied on some form of all rounder nearly as much as SA over the last 15 years (astle, mcmillan, cairns, vettori,harris,elliot,ryder,oram...). This team should be based upon the best team they can put out, not a set structure. My XI would be Michell, Proctor,Richards, G. Pollock, Kallis, de Villiers (keeper), P Pollock, S. Pollock, Tayfield, Steyn, Donald

    Incidentally, you have named shaun pollock in 2 sections - does this mean he can be picked twice??

  • WPHE on December 8, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    How can Garth Le Roux be left out of consideration. It is a crime that the 'Super-Tests' have not been retrospectively recognised (it would shift Dennis Lillee significantly up the wicket taking lists as well). Le Roux's performances in World Series Cricket were both aggressive and outstanding. Saw him take 6-18 at the 'Gabba against Australia, who struggled to 55. Game was over so fast, they played a second game on the same day.

  • compensate on December 8, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    Dale stein is a must!Allan Donald is a must! Opening bowlers must be wicket takers.Quick strike rates.And intimidating! No( opening} support bowler.If I am captain,the choice is easy. Pollock is a straightforward bowler.Cannot make my team as opening bowler.

  • BellCurve on December 8, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    Ntini is a fantastic player. His record against top class lefthanders such as Brian Lara is unmatched. His energy is infectious. He never drops his head. He played his cricket in a decade where the odds were stacked heavily in favour of batsmen. Yet he has taken 388 wickets at a strike rate of 52. He may well surpass Pollock to become SA's leading wicket taker. Compare his stats with that of Brett Lee, his only realistic rival for the title "Greatest Fast Bowler of the 2000s". Ntini wins hands down. He must be in the side. Why does SA need a spinner if they have such wealth and depth in all-round/pace departments? Hugh Tayfield was good but with a strike rate of 80 he does not really bring much to the party. Was the greatest bowling attack of all-time not the all-pace Windies of the 1980s? Balance is good but strike-rate is king.

  • sudiptaasi on December 8, 2009, 9:06 GMT

    Chose Pollock as an allrounder. So Donald and NTini are my choices. Both destructive at their primes, will sent a shiver down the spine of most batsmen in the world if not all.

  • TheNJdK on December 8, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    S Pollock, Donald. Personally i'd say screw the spinner and pick Ntini, but given Procter and Kallis are already in, the seam options are amazing, so perhaps a Paul Harris like Wheelie Bin to hold up an end wont be a bad call.

  • sbbioman74 on December 8, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    my all time SA side would be (OPENERS 1.Barry Richards 2.Graeme Smith) (MIDDLE ORDER 3.J Kallis 4.Graeme Pollock 5.Dudley Nourse) (ALL ROUNDERS 6.Mike Procter 7.Trevor Goddard) (SPINNER+ALLROUNDER 8.Aubrey Faulkner) (WK 9.Mark Boucher) (FAST BOWLERS 10.Shaun Polock 11.Allan Donald). this should be the batting line up too. PLUS POINTS of this team:1) balance in bowling:pace and swing both are there:- two right arm fast bowlers-donald,proctor-two right arm medium pacers-shaun, kallis-one left arm seamer-goddard-one quality spinner-faulkner-two other part time spinners 2)they bat very deep- no 10 is a genuine all rounder,3)there must three all rounders in SA team as all rounders have been their strength and made them unique among other teams, so they should have faulkner as spinner+all rounder,4) all these have proved themselves as fighters, 5)right hand left hand opening combination and two other great left hand batters among 10. THIS TEAM WOULD HAVE BEEN WORLD BEATERS.

  • sbbioman74 on December 8, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    my all time SA side would be (OPENERS 1.Barry Richards 2.Graeme Smith) (MIDDLE ORDER 3.J Kallis 4.Graeme Pollock 5.Dudley Nourse) (ALL ROUNDERS 6.Mike Procter 7.Trevor Goddard) (SPINNER+ALLROUNDER 8.Aubrey Faulkner) (WK 9.Mark Boucher) (FAST BOWLERS 10.Shaun Polock 11.Allan Donald). this should be the batting line up too. PLUS POINTS of this team:1) balance in bowling:pace and swing both are there:- two right arm fast bowlers-donald,proctor-two right arm medium pacers-shaun, kallis-one left arm seamer-goddard-one quality spinner-faulkner-two other part time spinners 2)they bat very deep- no 10 is a genuine all rounder,3)there must three all rounders in SA team as all rounders have been their strength and made them unique among other teams, so they should have faulkner as spinner+all rounder,4) all these have proved themselves as fighters, 5)right hand left hand opening combination and two other great left hand batters among 10. THIS TEAM WOULD HAVE BEEN WORLD BEATERS.

  • moronosaurus on December 8, 2009, 8:01 GMT

    I do hope that when the experts pick their XI, they aren't subject to the same limitations us readers are! How to decide whether someone should be classified as an allrounder or a quick or ... isn't balance tricky?

    Out of curiosity, can't a South African XI entirely of all rounders be picked, where even the Number 11 has a batting average above 20 and even the openers can take a wicket if the gods are drunk?

  • waspsting on December 8, 2009, 7:53 GMT

    really tough one, this. I don't have a problem with any 2 of Adcock, Donald, Shaun Pollock and Steyn. Pollock's not as damaging as the other three, but much the best batsmen. can't really seperate the other three. i think we've got enough batting strenght, so i'd go with the two best pure bowlers, which means Pollock misses out. I'll go with Donald and Steyn - but freely admit that that might just be my bias at having actually seen them play. Adcock's got a great record and he was a terror of his time. I reckon the expert panel will plump for Donald and Adcock, though

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 8, 2009, 7:51 GMT

    I found it amusing that Shaun Pollock was in the fast bowler AND the all-rounder slot (yet Kallis wasn't in the all-rounder slot for some reason??? just in the top order slot). I put Pollock in both spots. Steyn sounds nice but I saw several of his early games and he was woeful. I just worry that at some point he will get really bad again. Fanie de Villiers for the most part was just Donald's off-sider. Sure, they worked well together, but it was always very clearly Donald dominating. Pollock at times was ranked as the best bowler in the world. Probably the only contender for Shaun Pollock's spot is Peter Pollock. For his batting, if nothing else, and just how good he was when he was at his best, I give the second spot to Shaun Pollock. Donald, with pace and intimidation, was the best for sure. White lightning, as they called him.

  • TravelBandit on December 8, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    The way this team is being picked is silly - SA's best ever fast bowler was, without a doubt, Mike Procter. Yet he's not listed here, presumably because he's in the all-rounders page. I would choose Procter and Donald to open the bowling for SA's all-time XI without hesitation. Surely you choose the best batsmen, the best bowlers and the best wicket-keeper first, then try and add an all-rounder to the mix if possible? If your best bowler is also an all-rounder, then well and good.

  • Gaurav_Mehta on December 8, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    throwing another name in the hat. Brett Schultz. he was as fast if not faster than Donald and had that nasty streak in him. injuries cut his career short but a Donald-Schultz pairing backed with Fanie and McMillan was as potent an attack as was going around just after SA was readmitted in International cricket

  • Batsy on December 8, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Being someone who followed cricket from early 90's i don't know anything about yesteryear's stars. So without meaning any offense to them, the duo for me would undoubtedly be Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock. I still vividly remember the Donald's run up and boy how menacing it was (when I first saw him back in early 90's). Other highlights i can remember from Donald are the wicket of Sachin, ball swinging in from way outside the off-stump, beating the forward defensive shot and flattening the stumps. Who can forget the furious spell in England against Atherton from around the wicket. Shaun is one of the three bowlers who controlled the swing perfectly and used it to great effect (other two being Wasim Akram and Glenn McGrath).

  • Kiefpant on December 8, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    This whole thing doesn't really work that well for SA unfortunately. It's just not as cut and dry as most other teams. Any all-time SA team would have Mike Proctor in it, who would also be one of your opening bowlers. Do you then choose Shaun Pollock as a first change bowler who can also bat? With Proctor and Kallis there, you don't need another all-rounder. On top of that, there's isolation to consider. Personally, after Proctor, my two choices would be Donald and Vince van der Bijl, but having never played a test, apparently he can't be considered.

  • sacricketlegend on December 8, 2009, 6:24 GMT

    Quite simply: Allan Donald. A player who never got nearly as much credit as he deserved. I'd have loved to have Big Vince with him, but I guess you have to choose a player who actually appeared in Tests, so Neil Adcock it is. Steyn is possibility in the future, but he's gonna have to prove he can carry on with his form and continue to take wickets when he's struggling.

  • Theena on December 8, 2009, 5:53 GMT

    No Procter? Or was he added as an all rounder? As fine a bowler as de Villiers was, I don't think he compares to the rest in this list. Procter at his peak would walk into any SA XI.

  • srini701 on December 8, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    How come you have Shaun Pollock in the lists for all-rounders as well as for pacemen? What if someone picks him for both (he's good enough)? It would have been better of you included maybe another all-rounder or maybe include another fast bowler here...

    Allan Donald will walk into any side of any era...its just one other paceman to be picked, so guess even if you had just 3 or 4 names here, it wouldn't matter much :)

  • Shafaet on December 8, 2009, 5:24 GMT

    Extremely hard choice. Donald will walk in but who will be his partner? Dale Steyn is a future legend, in the era of batsmen he destroyed allmost every batting line-up home and away in his short career. Shaun pollock at his best is as good as any great fast bowler. Then there is adcock, also fanie de villiers. By god thats a tough one. I would go for dale steyn for his wicket taking abilty, donald and steyn would make the most fearsome bowling attack ever. But i also want polly in the XI as he is a genuine allrounder,

  • IndianDynamos on December 8, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    It has to be Shawn and Donald. They had a good partnership in the bowling attack as well. Donald, a good aggressive fast bowler. And the other end,Pollock, one of a very clever and finesse bowlers of all time. Fanie Devilliers was consistent, but he will definitely not make the cut. Steyn will closely miss Donald's spot. Donald is more consistent and has player more good test cricket than Steyn. And i really dont know why Ntini's name is in there.

  • NIK77 on December 8, 2009, 4:57 GMT

    Its Shaun Pollock and AllanDonald for me. Thought of Ntini as well but who needs pace when you have the "White Lightning" . Pollock, one of the most nagging line and length bowler, will complement Allan in every way.

  • VivaVizag on December 8, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    I am yet to see a fast bowler more astute than Fanie! I remember this bloke choking (may be strangulating) the batsmen with his ever deceptive line and length. FYI his econ rate of 3.57 in ODIs is better than McGrath (3.87).

  • HundredPercentBarcelonista on December 8, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    Why would you have only two pace bowlers? There's got to be atleast 3 if not 4!!!

  • dr_sachinfan_chennai on December 8, 2009, 4:02 GMT

    I ld go with Donald and Shaun. They are supposedly the best of this era on terms with Ambrose - Walsh, Akram - Younis & Mcgrath - Lee. But why is it a norm to select just two fast bowlers? Afterall is in't it the Proteas strength rather than Spin bowling? So why not going with one spinner n 3 fast bowlers as they do usually these days?

  • rajan_ck on December 8, 2009, 3:51 GMT

    Surprised to see Mike Proctor did not make the list.

  • 9ST9 on December 8, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Donald and Pollock.....whew..... They Terrorized the mid and late 90's (Donald) and early 2000's (Pollock). Sadly Donald's Form fell away.

  • CricFan78 on December 8, 2009, 3:24 GMT

    I will chose Shaun over his father Peter and Alan Donald will come into any SA side.

  • Alan James Sanders on December 8, 2009, 3:23 GMT

    Adcock and Donald. Donald's 330 wickets from only 72 Test matches is outstanding, as is his strike rate of 47 (one of the best ever) and his pace. Plus, he did well on the subcontinent. Adcock, likewise because of his pace and bounce, and his average of 21 is about as good as it gets. Shaun Pollock might run a close third, due to his control, but Adcock was pretty miserly himself, and while Pollock may offer more runs, with a wicketkeeper who can bat and two allrounders at 6 and 7, how many more runs do you need from the lower order?

  • manasvi_lingam on December 8, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    I'd go with Adcock and Donald. They're the best statistically, and were also regarded as among the best in the world, in their prime. Both Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock are genuine contenders as well, especially Steyn who has a remarkable average and strike rate in tis era of batting pitches.

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  • manasvi_lingam on December 8, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    I'd go with Adcock and Donald. They're the best statistically, and were also regarded as among the best in the world, in their prime. Both Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock are genuine contenders as well, especially Steyn who has a remarkable average and strike rate in tis era of batting pitches.

  • Alan James Sanders on December 8, 2009, 3:23 GMT

    Adcock and Donald. Donald's 330 wickets from only 72 Test matches is outstanding, as is his strike rate of 47 (one of the best ever) and his pace. Plus, he did well on the subcontinent. Adcock, likewise because of his pace and bounce, and his average of 21 is about as good as it gets. Shaun Pollock might run a close third, due to his control, but Adcock was pretty miserly himself, and while Pollock may offer more runs, with a wicketkeeper who can bat and two allrounders at 6 and 7, how many more runs do you need from the lower order?

  • CricFan78 on December 8, 2009, 3:24 GMT

    I will chose Shaun over his father Peter and Alan Donald will come into any SA side.

  • 9ST9 on December 8, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Donald and Pollock.....whew..... They Terrorized the mid and late 90's (Donald) and early 2000's (Pollock). Sadly Donald's Form fell away.

  • rajan_ck on December 8, 2009, 3:51 GMT

    Surprised to see Mike Proctor did not make the list.

  • dr_sachinfan_chennai on December 8, 2009, 4:02 GMT

    I ld go with Donald and Shaun. They are supposedly the best of this era on terms with Ambrose - Walsh, Akram - Younis & Mcgrath - Lee. But why is it a norm to select just two fast bowlers? Afterall is in't it the Proteas strength rather than Spin bowling? So why not going with one spinner n 3 fast bowlers as they do usually these days?

  • HundredPercentBarcelonista on December 8, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    Why would you have only two pace bowlers? There's got to be atleast 3 if not 4!!!

  • VivaVizag on December 8, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    I am yet to see a fast bowler more astute than Fanie! I remember this bloke choking (may be strangulating) the batsmen with his ever deceptive line and length. FYI his econ rate of 3.57 in ODIs is better than McGrath (3.87).

  • NIK77 on December 8, 2009, 4:57 GMT

    Its Shaun Pollock and AllanDonald for me. Thought of Ntini as well but who needs pace when you have the "White Lightning" . Pollock, one of the most nagging line and length bowler, will complement Allan in every way.

  • IndianDynamos on December 8, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    It has to be Shawn and Donald. They had a good partnership in the bowling attack as well. Donald, a good aggressive fast bowler. And the other end,Pollock, one of a very clever and finesse bowlers of all time. Fanie Devilliers was consistent, but he will definitely not make the cut. Steyn will closely miss Donald's spot. Donald is more consistent and has player more good test cricket than Steyn. And i really dont know why Ntini's name is in there.