Firdose Moonda January 13, 2014

South Africa seek to fill Kallis-sized hole

A player of his magnitude cannot exactly be replaced, but South Africa have options to help them rejig their line-up
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For the first time in 18 years, South Africa's selectors will have to pick a Test squad without one of its certainties. Jacques Kallis' retirement has left a gap many have said will be impossible to fill.

While it's understood a player of his magnitude cannot be replaced, South Africa have to, as Shaun Pollock said, find a way to move forward without him as quickly as possible. They have a lot to ponder as they search for a new strategy in the post-Kallis era.

The first consideration is the No. 4 spot. For years, it was thought AB de Villiers was being groomed for that role. De Villiers is the most outrageously talented and adaptable batsman in South Africa's line-up and is capable of switching between the two most important roles in that position: he scores runs under pressure (like at Headingley 2008, and in Hamilton 2012 and Johannesburg 2013) and is the best person to have on hand when there is a platform to take off from (Perth 2012 being a standout illustration).

But de Villiers is not an automatic pick for No. 4 because he is already heavily burdened. He keeps wicket and is also the team's vice-captain; there's also a strong chance he will eventually succeed Graeme Smith, and though that is not imminent, it is something to bear in mind for the long term.

That's why Faf du Plessis is likely to fill the No. 4 spot. Du Plessis' batting style is similar to de Villiers' in that he understands when to attack and when to defend, and has the skills for both. Batting is his only responsibility, although he is also expected to take Kodak-moment catches, so he is a good pick for the crucial role.

Du Plessis also prefers to bat higher up and has openly said so on several occasions. In his 11-Test career, he has already been pushed up three times. The first was against Pakistan in Cape Town last February, when he came in ahead of Kallis, with South Africa in trouble at 50 for 2. The second was in the next match, in Centurion, when Kallis sat out because of injury, and the third, and most telling, was against India in Johannesburg in December 2013.

In that last match Kallis had bowled more than his quota of overs and the team management wanted to give him an extra night's rest. South Africa needed a consolidator and du Plessis was trusted with the job. His century, crafted with patience, took them to the brink of a historic win. It was a performance that underlined his claim to be slotted in at No. 4.

Because Kallis' place in the batting line-up is likely to be occupied by one of de Villiers or du Plessis, the change to the XI will have to happen lower down, at No. 7. That spot has been occupied by an extra specialist batsman since Mark Boucher's retirement in July 2012, and South Africa have always said it is a berth they would like to use creatively, which suggests some experimentation could be in order.

Without Kallis, the only way they can keep a specialist batsman in that position is if JP Duminy becomes their premier allrounder. That would mean forsaking the specialist spinner, a role that has yo-yoed between Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson, though neither has taken ownership of the spot, and tasking Duminy with filling that role in order to include another seamer and maintain the side's balance.

Du Plessis' batting style is similar to de Villiers' in that he understands when to attack and when to defend. Batting is his only responsibility, although he is also expected to take Kodak-moment catches, so he is a good pick for No. 4

Duminy's offspin has developed significantly. He has shown himself capable of holding up an end and he makes timely breakthroughs, but whether he is good enough to operate as the sole spinner is still a matter of debate. South Africa could try him out at home, where spin rarely plays a role, before deciding if he is a viable option for away Tests as well. In that case, Dean Elgar, who has been on the fringes and has played a handful of matches, would slot in as the additional batsmen. South Africa's XI would then look like this:

Smith, Petersen, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, Duminy, Elgar, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, extra seamer (Tsotsobe/Abbott/Kleinveldt).

Another, more likely, option for No. 7 is to slot in an allrounder. That person will be more of a bowling two-in-one, as opposed to Kallis, who was seen as a batting allrounder. Even though there appears to be a dearth of these rare cricketers around, South Africa have some options in that regard.

Ryan McLaren is first name that pops up. He established himself as the first-choice allrounder in the ODI team when Kallis was unavailable for bilateral series, and blossomed once given a regular run. McLaren has only played one Test, against England in 2010, but more than 100 first-class matches. He has a batting average of over 30, with three centuries and 20 fifties, and has taken 329 wickets at 25.47.

Wayne Parnell is the other option. After falling by the wayside, following an impressive start that included three Tests, he has made a full recovery from a serious groin injury, plays regularly for his franchise, and is performing well. Parnell has racked up two List A hundreds, has even opened the batting for the Warriors, and is in good form with the ball. So far in the 2013-14 season he has eight wickets at 12.75 from one match.

South Africa could also look for the allrounder within the group they already have, where three candidates emerge. Rory Kleinveldt is a regular member of the squad and someone who is considered front of the queue. Kleinveldt has scored one first-class hundred and nine fifties and has been one of the most consistent wicket-takers in the domestic game.

The other two options are already part of the team. Both Vernon Philander and Robin Peterson are capable of batting at No. 7. They have three Test fifties each and have batted South Africa out of difficult positions in the recent past - Philander at Lord's in August 2012, Peterson in Durban in December 2013.

If South Africa make use of one of them, they will have a free spot to toy with in the XI, which can be used for either an extra bowler or batsman. The team would look something like this, with the unallocated role able to move anywhere in the order:

Smith, Petersen, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, Duminy, No. 7, Philander, Peterson, Steyn, Morkel

Mike Procter, the former convenor of selectors, who admits his panel "never thought of a team without Kallis", is in favour of this approach. He would use the gap to bring in a specialist wicketkeeper, because even though de Villiers' batting average has increased since he took over from Boucher, Procter thinks he is better off as a batsman only. "His batting will progress even more if he does not keep." Some may wonder how much better de Villiers can get but Procter believes he can score match-winning double-hundreds if freed from the gloves.

Should South Africa go this way, they will have to bring in one of the reserve glovemen - Thami Tsolekile or his Lions team-mate Quinton de Kock. Tsolekile is probably the first choice. His issue has also become political because of the lack of black African players in the team. South Africa's Test side has gone more than three years without a member of the country's biggest demographic group and it is understood CSA board members are pushing for Tsolekile's inclusion.

But there is a wave of public support for de Kock, who went from a promising youngster to proven international in the space of a week in which he scored three consecutive ODI hundreds against India. De Kock has played 19 first-class matches, averages 51.96, and has scored four centuries. He is only in his second season as a franchise cricketer and the selectors are wary of rushing him, as current convenor Andrew Hudson confirmed when the squad for India was announced. They also believe his glovework could do with some improvement. De Kock will definitely come into the picture in the future but the Australia series may be a little soon to expect his inclusion.

What all this highlights is that South Africa have options. There is depth, they have different players who offer different skills, and several capable candidates. Kallis' absence will require a rethinking of strategy, but that is not an insurmountable task. Nobody can fill in for the sun but if the stars band together in the correct combinations they can produce something that could be just as good.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • charles1968 on January 16, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    Peterson is a good player. no doubt but not in the league of a really top class opener. de Kock can't open and keep in the longer format so he either bats 7 or doesn't play, Elgar at 7 but the aussies have already sorted him out the last time these two sides met.

  • on January 16, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    If I were Australia, I would be really happy to see Duminy, Mclaren and Robbie P batting at 6,7 and 8, all with batting averages of 30. Those averages are most probably in the low 20's if you exclude Zim, Bangladesh and NZ.

  • on January 15, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    King Kallis cant be replaced but S A should bring in decock and play mcleran in place of duminny but in spinning conditions thy shud play wth Tahir and peterson

  • JimmySA on January 15, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    @Ralf Foley I agree with you completely. We should not be aiming to contain if we don't require that. We have more than capable fast bowlers to make any opposition sweat beneath their helmets. If you have a forth fast bowler, there will be sustained pressure leading to more breakthroughs.

  • BokkeForever on January 14, 2014, 20:31 GMT

    I remember seeing Kallis play at Newlands for the Western Provance B side - I think he was just out of high school then. A mate of mine leant over to me and said "watch this boy bat - he's going to be a great". That was 20 years ago, how right he proved to be. No-one is ever going to replace King Kallis. Long live the King.

  • on January 14, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    Why play a spinner for the sake of it? The fast bowlers build up the pressure, and the spinner comes on and immediately releases it. This happens most times. Rather give Abbot another chance as the 4th bowler. He took a bundle of wickets in his one and only test. Let's play to our strength, which is fast bowling.

    Duminy can play the holding role if needed. He spins the ball as much or little as Robbie P.

  • B.C.G on January 14, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Both the Peterson's may be unpopular,but they have made crucial contributions.At the WACA,Perth 2012,our top order was blown away by Starc & MITCH yeah the same demonic Mitch.Robbie held the fort with Faf & regained the initiative.He also saved the day against Ajmal & co. in CT.In the last series he conceded 3-4 runs per over v/s the world's best spin players unlike Tahir who gets belted on any non-Asian pitch for 6-8 rpo.And no don't say chuck the spinner,because to keep up with over rates,bring variation we do need one.JP is a useless batsman as well as a useless bowler.JP out,Mclaren or Van Zyl in.

    The 12 should be: Smith, Petersen, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, Van Zyl, Peterson, Philander, McLaren, Steyn, Morkel.

  • on January 14, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    SA have many options to fill that one spot, i think it is fairly obvious to pick elgar at no 7 in asia because he is a part time spinner too, but parnell or McLaren are better options on fast pitches. other 10 members should be same,those who played against india last test. it is when a fast pitch has something for spinners too, but if there is nothing for spinners then it should be elgar instead of peterson(left arm spinner).

  • creebo777 on January 14, 2014, 14:43 GMT

    alviro petersen always gets starts but never kicks on ..he doesnt even avrg 40

  • BellCurve on January 14, 2014, 14:36 GMT

    I feel sorry for Tsolekile. He had a good season in 2009/10 and in 20011/12 - but inbetween he averaged 25 and 29. As a result he was not asked to take over from Boucher. Now he is 33 years old and counting. Batsmen peak between 28 and 34. Time is not on Thami's side. Selecting him would be a mistake. I also feel sorry for Van Zyl. What more can he do? Every time Faf or Petersen gets close to getting dropped, they score a hundred. There are really very limited opportunities available for a potential Test specialist like Van Zyl. At 26 he is approaching his prime. He could be of great service to SA over the next 10 years.

  • charles1968 on January 16, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    Peterson is a good player. no doubt but not in the league of a really top class opener. de Kock can't open and keep in the longer format so he either bats 7 or doesn't play, Elgar at 7 but the aussies have already sorted him out the last time these two sides met.

  • on January 16, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    If I were Australia, I would be really happy to see Duminy, Mclaren and Robbie P batting at 6,7 and 8, all with batting averages of 30. Those averages are most probably in the low 20's if you exclude Zim, Bangladesh and NZ.

  • on January 15, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    King Kallis cant be replaced but S A should bring in decock and play mcleran in place of duminny but in spinning conditions thy shud play wth Tahir and peterson

  • JimmySA on January 15, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    @Ralf Foley I agree with you completely. We should not be aiming to contain if we don't require that. We have more than capable fast bowlers to make any opposition sweat beneath their helmets. If you have a forth fast bowler, there will be sustained pressure leading to more breakthroughs.

  • BokkeForever on January 14, 2014, 20:31 GMT

    I remember seeing Kallis play at Newlands for the Western Provance B side - I think he was just out of high school then. A mate of mine leant over to me and said "watch this boy bat - he's going to be a great". That was 20 years ago, how right he proved to be. No-one is ever going to replace King Kallis. Long live the King.

  • on January 14, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    Why play a spinner for the sake of it? The fast bowlers build up the pressure, and the spinner comes on and immediately releases it. This happens most times. Rather give Abbot another chance as the 4th bowler. He took a bundle of wickets in his one and only test. Let's play to our strength, which is fast bowling.

    Duminy can play the holding role if needed. He spins the ball as much or little as Robbie P.

  • B.C.G on January 14, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Both the Peterson's may be unpopular,but they have made crucial contributions.At the WACA,Perth 2012,our top order was blown away by Starc & MITCH yeah the same demonic Mitch.Robbie held the fort with Faf & regained the initiative.He also saved the day against Ajmal & co. in CT.In the last series he conceded 3-4 runs per over v/s the world's best spin players unlike Tahir who gets belted on any non-Asian pitch for 6-8 rpo.And no don't say chuck the spinner,because to keep up with over rates,bring variation we do need one.JP is a useless batsman as well as a useless bowler.JP out,Mclaren or Van Zyl in.

    The 12 should be: Smith, Petersen, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, Van Zyl, Peterson, Philander, McLaren, Steyn, Morkel.

  • on January 14, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    SA have many options to fill that one spot, i think it is fairly obvious to pick elgar at no 7 in asia because he is a part time spinner too, but parnell or McLaren are better options on fast pitches. other 10 members should be same,those who played against india last test. it is when a fast pitch has something for spinners too, but if there is nothing for spinners then it should be elgar instead of peterson(left arm spinner).

  • creebo777 on January 14, 2014, 14:43 GMT

    alviro petersen always gets starts but never kicks on ..he doesnt even avrg 40

  • BellCurve on January 14, 2014, 14:36 GMT

    I feel sorry for Tsolekile. He had a good season in 2009/10 and in 20011/12 - but inbetween he averaged 25 and 29. As a result he was not asked to take over from Boucher. Now he is 33 years old and counting. Batsmen peak between 28 and 34. Time is not on Thami's side. Selecting him would be a mistake. I also feel sorry for Van Zyl. What more can he do? Every time Faf or Petersen gets close to getting dropped, they score a hundred. There are really very limited opportunities available for a potential Test specialist like Van Zyl. At 26 he is approaching his prime. He could be of great service to SA over the next 10 years.

  • on January 14, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    why is it that Peterson must always be the talking point when wanting to drop a player. He is a very good opening batsman. Proven he can score runs at the highest level. He plays the short ball very well and with the ausie style of bowling I would have him opening than any other batsman in SA. Those wanting de kock to keep and open must be crazy. How would he feel after 2 days in the field and still open the innings. The person who are lucky to be in the team is JP at the moment. He's going through a bad patch, but i'll still play him. He just need that one innings to kick-start his form. If our batsmen put the runs on the board I don't see us loosing to Australia.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 14, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    For now, lets put the Wicketkeeping argument to rest. The selectors will go for AB for now, simple as that. I do agree with Gareth Bain on Thami though.

    Van Zyl will not get a starting slot, as Elgar is 'next in line' so we can also put that thought to bed right now.

    If the selections pick R.Peterson - which they should NOT do. This will force us to pick another seam bowler in McClaren or Parnell. If the selectors have some common sense and pick Abbott instead of R.Petersen and play Duminy as the spinner, this allows us to have an extra Batsman- Elgar.

    1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.Faff 5.AB 6.Duminy 7.Elgar 8.Vern 9.Abbott 10.Steyn-Gun 11.Morkel.

    Future Protea side - 3 years from now. 1.Van Zyl 2.Elgar 3.Amla 4.AB 5.Faff 6.Duminy 7.De Kock 8.Vern 9.Abbott 10.Steyn-gun 11. B.Hendricks

  • polo69 on January 14, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    I don't see this as a major issue. South Africa retained there number one status while Kallis was averaging a wicket per innings and 20 odd with the bat, barring his last innings 100. It is maybe then a blessing that we can chose an extra bowler, extra batter or all rounder as required by conditions. This should actually give opportunity to the likes of De Kock, Mclaren and others to get some game time. Ofcourse Kallis is hard to fill, however having an all rounder is not a pre-requisite for being number one. Look at the dominant Aussies of the early 2000's, they only had specialist batters and bowlers. SA can do without Kallis and retain their dominance. It's the 50+ batters and world class attack that allows this .. lose the likes of Steyn and AB combined for a test or two would be more of a concern than losing an out of form Kallis.

  • JimmySA on January 14, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    My gut feels De Kock should be keeper at number 7. This way he can be groomed into the set up without feeling pressure opening the batting. As time progresses, he can move up the order if he shows consistency.

  • on January 14, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Why not play a specialist wicketkeeper at No. 7 & utilize AB de Villiers fully as a batsman at No. 4 ?

  • on January 14, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Tough time for selectors, but I'm pretty sure they will move Faf and 7 for Mclaren. Here's my 2cents. 1Smith (cpt) 2DeKock (bat only study keeping)/Alviro 3Amla 4Duminy (talented and spin option) 5AB (keeper) 6Faf (trade if Duminy fails after 5 tests) 7 Mclaren(fast track) Elgar(sub cont) 8Philander 9Abbott(fast track) Robin/Tahir Sub Cont 10Steyn 11Morkel

    A lot of options with this team. When Alviro make runs its alway a surprise and that's not a good thing. May as well Start DeKock and get him learning the keeper position. Duminy and Faf still have a lot to prove. Robin's most noteworthy contributions have been with his bat, also not a good thing. Rather play another seamer and rely on Duminy as spin option. Gonna miss Kallis the legend no matter which way we go.

  • Bowlersholding on January 14, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    Best would be if Duminy plays as spinner in SA conditions and Thami takes the gloves. Robbie P and Tahir will have no impact against Aus, although Hussey is not there any more. This will give Quintin more time to develop his technique in FC cricket. We can reassess after the Aus tour.

  • Pot_Blou_Gevaar on January 14, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    It is fairly obvious that our first priority is to include a "BOWLING" all-rounder, which makes it an almost straight shoot-out between McLaren and Parnell. I'd personally opt for Parnell as it will give us more variety having a left-arm seamer in the match 11. I'd further still stick with Duminy @ 6 (Faf @ 4) as he provides an extra spinning option together with Robbie (front-line? spinner) while also being an recognized lower order batter. It gives us is; - A 6 prong bowling attack, which eases the toll on our strike-bowlers like Steyn/ Philander. - 6 recognized batters, decent accumulators from 7 - 10 (Philander, Robbie, Parnell, Steyn). At a later stage, De Kock becomes the direct replacement for Alviro at the top (or Smitty when retired) and permanently taking the gloves like Gillchrist. Should Duminy not perform with the bat, Stiaan gets his opportunity (re-shuffling the batting order). Faf becoming captain leaving our frontline batters in AB/ Amla to concentrate on batting only.

  • on January 14, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    It will be a big mistake going in with McLaren and Robbie P at 7 and 8. Mitchell Johnson loves these types of bowling allrounders. Prior and Broad, so-called allrounders for England, had no answer to him. Rather go in with 7 specialist batsmen, with Duminy the spinner. Robbie P does not offer much more than Duminy. Then have 4 fast bowlers, with perhaps Abbot, Hendricks or De Lange the 4th bowler.

  • on January 14, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    De Kock is good and may turn out a great test player in the future but, right now, he isn't ready. Scoring 100's at home against arguably the world's worst attack (the indians) who had no clue how to bowl in SA does not prove he can bat at test level. Besides, even his keeping needs some work.

  • Shongololo on January 14, 2014, 0:57 GMT

    @ jonesy2 - we're all trembling at a top order batting line-up that was regularly about 90 for 5, against crap English bowling.

  • philander50 on January 13, 2014, 22:35 GMT

    @rizwan1981 It's people like you who are ruining cricket, why does it matter what the colour of a players skin is, perhaps it's because their simply aren't any good black batsman who are capable of playing in the test side i.e thami Tsolekile.

  • on January 13, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    I think having 7 batsmen is a luxury and not standard. So the top 6 should learn to do their job not rely on no.7, VP and Robbie P to bail them. So the argument that Thami can't make the team because he not a decent batsman is not good enough. This country put up with Boucher's below 30 avg batting for a long time and none of this Thami pessimists were complaining. Thami is the best wicketkeeper in the country, he should keep at no. 7 with his above 30 batting avg. PERIOD! He is not there because of quota, he deserves his place, why deny him. You ask for meritocracy and when someone is good enough, there are other excuses put forward on why he shouldn't play. PLEASE South Africa, enough of these shifting standards.

    There are many Black SAfricans who love the Proteas and would love to see our sons make the team as well. SA have always asked us to be "good enough" and now that we are good enough, you shift the goal post. Thami is a great cricketer that should be playing for his country!

  • Caius on January 13, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Stiaan van Zyl's batting credentials warrant close scrutiny. In the 2012/13 Sunfoil Series, he had the second highest aggregate, recording 673 runs at an average of 61.18. In all first-class cricket last season, he scored 725 runs at 55.76. In four first-class matches this season, he boasts the highest aggregate, namely 456 runs at an average of 91.20 (including two scores in excess of 150). In his first-class career, he has scored 5443 runs at 44.61. (This compares favourably with Faf du Plessis's career figures of 5187 runs at 40.52.) In addition, in this season's one-day competition Stiaan has scored 343 runs at an average of 42.87. Here is an opportunity for the South African selectors to introduce a batsman with a solid track record. Suggested XI: Smith, Petersen, Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers (w), Van Zyl, Duminy, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Abbott. It would be futile to continue gambling with Tahir or Peterson, hence four quicks, with Duminy and Van Zyl as back-up.

  • GermanPlayer on January 13, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    @MDWillo79 Vernon Philander made his ODI debut as an allrounder. Having failed, he decided to concentrate just on his bowling. He has 2 centuries and 9 fifties in First Class cricket and has shown time and again that he can bat. Remember his 60 odd against England and his performance with the bat against India?

  • StaalBurgher on January 13, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    Fact is if you want a new keeper, wait for QDK. I agree with the article, ideally AB shouldn't keep at all and bat at 4.

    I was always really keen on Parnell, but seems his return to form has only been in 1-days, not 4-days. Maybe wrong on that score.

    No point in bringing in Tsolekile at his age with AB and QDK in the future being available. You make the team significantly weaker and less flexible. Sorry, but who cares if there isn't "a member from the biggest demographic group"? It is not about population but the numbers of players that choose to play it as a preferred sport. In that sense that biggest demographic becomes the smallest.

  • Gareth_Bain on January 13, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    Since 2009, Tsolekile has the best average of any keeper-batsmen at franchise level: 1795 runs @ 43.8; next his Morne van Wyk 1649 runs @ 40.2; De Kock 603 runs @ 35.5; Vilas 891 runs @ 33; Kuhn 2000 runs @ 32.3. Personally I wouldn't play Tsolekile because AB de Villiers as keeper allows us so much more freedom selection-wise...

  • S.Jagernath on January 13, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    Faf Du Plessis going up to bat at #4 is an obvious move.Ryan McLaren seems the most sane choice to bat at #7.Dean Elgar could also be considered to bat at #4 & bowl spin,but that would be a gamble!

  • Gareth_Bain on January 13, 2014, 18:39 GMT

    Axe-Hay: Wiese has terrible first-team domestic stats... You're looking at his first class stats and forgetting most of that is for the second team...

  • Gareth_Bain on January 13, 2014, 18:36 GMT

    Tsolekile's 150+ against Australia A should've quieted most people's doubts about his batting ability... Apparently not.

  • on January 13, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    Turning wicket team. Smith,de kock,amla,de villiers,faf,duminy,mclaren/parnell,philander,steyn,morkel,tahir.

    Parnell to come replace tahir and bat before mclaren on seam friendly wickets unless tahir really starts taking truck loads of wickets as he has in his fc career.

  • creebo777 on January 13, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    thami tsolekili ,rory kleiveldt wouldnt even make the new zeeland team please we"re the number one test team ,lets have some standards ,stiaan van zyl ,de kock replacement batsmen,beuran hendricks,kyle abbott our bowlers

  • THE_MIZ on January 13, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    For all those Jumping on the De Kock bandwagon, you have to ask yourself, does he possess the necessary technique to cope at Test level? Right now, the answer is no. It is also dangerous to compare ODI form to Test ability (read George Bailey). He may well develop one but is not there yet. ALL cricket experts in the country seem to agree.

    A test batsman needs to have a technique that is tight enough to withstand sustained periods of pressure from hostile bowling. All SA batsman in the line-up have this (yes, even the out of form JP) is the reason for their success.

    Naturally we then need a replacement batsman (with no Kallis) with a sound technique. I say give Van Zyl or Reeza Hendricks a go...The problem with Elgar is that he is another Duminy. The few chances he's got, he was out of his depth and scratched around unconvincingly...his spin is the only thing that keeps him in everyone's thoughts.

  • Albert_cambell on January 13, 2014, 15:23 GMT

    kallis Will be an irreplaceable player for us. I dont think we can find player like him again. After Kallis retirement, we will be short on our bowling options, limiting to only 4 bowlers in our side. This can lead to injuries for our fast bowlers. Batting wise Elgar should take Kallis batting position.

  • MDWillo79 on January 13, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    Vernon Philander a test match number 7.............I've heard it all now!

  • GSTR on January 13, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    It will be highly impossible to replace kallis. They don't have proper bench strength in there fast bowling. Highly depended on steyn and morkel, but steyn has delivered in every match so at moment there is no problem. Quinton de kock should be given chance and AB should bat @ 4. Some young spinners should be given long term

  • Vaughanographic on January 13, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    If we go the pure allrounder route... McLaren in FIRST CLASS cricket has done very little this season. Very little. I also am not sure he has enough pace or supreme consistency for the test game (his one day variations being less effective in the longer form). I think Simon Harmer has done enough to break into the team ahead of Robin Peterson and is a decent bat also. If he comes in as the allrounder you then play Parnell who has proven to be quick (albeit erratic) as a 4th seamer to blast in for short quick spells. He can also bat so in essence you would have three competent number 8 batsmen (Philander Harmer Parnell) filling slots 7-9.

    I dont think we should go the wicket keeper route but if we do de Kock is a no brainer. Tsolekile has a poor career batting average and the Lions do not appear to have confidence in his batting or he would go up the order more often. Let de Kock into the squad although I think the allrounder route or extra batsman with Beuran Hendricks as 4th quick

  • Vaughanographic on January 13, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    There is a lot of support for Stiaan Van Zyl and agree he should come into the squad (perhaps as the backup batsman) although whether he should come in ahead of Elgar who has been in the squad for a while I dont know. Both can bowl which is handy.

    There is no doubt that Beuran Hendricks is the form quickie in the country - he deserves a go now while he is in such AMAZING form. Definitely the best bet for the 4th seamer role.

  • creebo777 on January 13, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    stiaan van zyl bats at 3 but i would play him as a opener with de kock at 6 taking the gloves,parnell the best all rounder in south africa stick with him,one of faf and duminy has to go

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 13, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    I just feel sorry for people like Stiaan Van Zyl and Q de Kock who are young and work hard - they just dont get a look in with the current setup. We might only get to see them when they are in their late 20's or 30's which is sad.

    In SA there rank poor players who are taking up squad spots. I don't have a problem with Tsolike in the squad as he is the best gloveman in the country and we need more local African representation. But I do have a problem with Kleinveld in the squad who are the same cultural background as Beuran Hendriks but a fraction as talented and skillful. R.Petersen needs to go to.

  • on January 13, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    i think that no7 is the spot SA have to fill after kallis because at no4 it will be fat no doubt, smith,peterson,amla,fat,ab and duminy are first choice if fit, then steyn,morkal and phlander are clear cut choice, competition is for 2 spots, i say elgar and peterson/tahir on spinning pitches and mcleren/parnell and elgar/peterson on fast pitches

  • Biohazard7279 on January 13, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    There are several solutions to this issue:

    1. Let an allrounder such as McLaren, Morkel, Wiese or Morris bat at 7

    2. Keep the batting line-up as it is, while a promising batsman such as Stiaan van Zyl, Dean Elgar or Rilee Rossouw bats at 4

    3. Let De Villiers bat at 4, Faf at 5, Duminy at 6 and play a wicketkeeper batsman like Dane Vilas or Heino Kuhn at 7

    4. Bring in another seamer like Abbott or Beuran Hendricks to further strengthen the bowling attack

    Let's be honest, Thami Tsolekile and Rory Kleinveldt have no claim to be in the test squad. They haven't had any recent performances which justify their selection in the squad. Tsolekile might be a good wicketkeeper, but he is a mediocre batsman and Vilas and Kuhn both have 40+ First-class averages. Tsolekile is already 33 and way past his almost non-existant prime.

  • neo-galactico on January 13, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    @Subbuamdavadi The problem with Tsolekile's inclusion would be it would non-cricketing reasons, he'd be in because of the quota system. On the other hand, I advocate meritocracy in which if he's good enough (the best WK/B) then I'd be calling for his inclusion. Although he's the best keeper in the country he's not close to being the best keeper/batsman in the country, many are better than him. In essence, there's no room for politics in sport

  • cbas18 on January 13, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    I think the option should be Parnell. He is left-handed quick, and is no mug with the bat.

  • IPSY on January 13, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    Quintin de Kock PERIOD! If we really want test cricket to compete or move ahead of the other formats, we have to once again pick players of the attractive calibre of Quintin de Kock in their national teams when they're very young! This is what happened in the past when test cricket was the king of sports. Each time a young player with so much flair and promise raised his head, room was swiftly made for him eg. SRT- in fact he was at least in the squad touring and gaining experience in the overseas tours in the different conditions. So, such conditions were not so novel to them when they made the final 11. In addition, de Kock is rare and special talent not seen since the retirement of the Gt Brian Lara, who incidentally is the greatest batsman of All Time, second only to the Gt Don Bradman. Let me hastily interject that de Kock is not a better player than Virat Kohli; but there is a Lara flair about de Kock which would attract more crowds worldwide, once he succeeds. No gloves though!

  • MariusRoodt on January 13, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    Stiaan van Zyl deserves a go. He should be next in line for a call up.

    Tsolekile deserves a change too though. Take the gloves away from AB and let him bat at 4, and Tsolekile at 7.

  • Fabianbrandner on January 13, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    Kleinveldt hasn't had much success at test level and he can slog a few but can't really bat. Petersen should make way for de Kock, put him into the position he has had his success. R Peterson and Tahir aren't cutting it, SA should bring in a youngster like Simon Harmer and groom him. So why not opt for Harmer and Mclaren (Both all-rounders of sorts) to replace Tahir/Peterson and Kallis?

    Playing XI: 1. Smith,2. de Kock, 3. Amla, 4. du Plessis, 5. de Villiers, 6. Duminy, 7. Harmer, 8. Mclaren, 9. Philander, 10. Steyn, 11. Morkel

    This gives SA a lot of batting depth all the way to nr9 and allows them to carry on playing 4 seamers and 2 spinners plus de Villiers doesn't need to keep

  • BellCurve on January 13, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    Stiaan Van Zyl has scored 1129 runs @70.56 in the flagship First Class competition (Sunfoil) in the last two seasons. No-one has scored more runs and no-one comes within 20 runs of him in terms of average. He is 26 years old and already a seasoned veteran of the domestic competition. He is the obvious replacement for Kallis.

  • on January 13, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    No one can fill in for the sun,but if stars group together,they can form something as good and kODAK moment catches, Good ones from Firdose

  • on January 13, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    i agree with de Kock as opener and wicketkeeper. the pace attack is with philander steyn,morkel in good hands , an aggessive opener is what needed.

  • SurlyCynic on January 13, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    Why do people always assume there are 'non cricketing reasons' for not selecting Tsolekile?

    Keeper 1: 21 yr old, can bat in top order or open, FC average over 50 Keeper 2: over 30 yr old, bats in lower order, FC average of 30

    Who would you rather have take over when AB gives up the gloves? If Thami was a good batsman I would be on here arguing for him to be in the team. But having a batsman at #7 allowed us to bring in Faf which saved us in the Aus series and vs India. With Kallis going we need all the batting we can get against Aus.

    I constantly follow domestic cricket looking for new talent and I genuinely hope we develop more blalck African cricketers as if more of the population play cricket the team will only get stronger, which is what we all want. If only we could produce a Lara or a Marshall. Ngam could have been up there if it wasn't for his injuries. And at the moment I think the next black SA cricketer is more likely to be a youngster like Bavuma than Tsolekile.

  • axe_hay on January 13, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    Why not David Wiese ? A Hard hitting all rounder, in the Klusener mould, can be very effective. He has excellent domestic stats , however seems to have been pigeon holed as a T20 specialist.Then there is Dwaine Pretorius,another talented allrounder.Its time the selectors give chances to Rilee Rossouw,Stiaan van Zyl,Obus Pienaar,Chris Morris,Dane Paterson and Reeza Hendricks. No point hanging on with tried and tested blokes like R.Peterson,Rory Klienveldt, Thami Tsolekile,Justin Ontong etc.We need to groom youngsters for the future and not rely on 30+ aged players.

  • Shazy777 on January 13, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    1. Smith 2. A. Peterson 3. Amla 4. Duminy 5. De Villiers 6.Faf 7. R. Peterson 8. Parnell 9. Philander 10. Steyn 11. Morkel... jp at no.4 give left/Right combination... he is out of form but remember form is temparory class is permenent... He is great batsman...!!! Elgar or De kock can replace A.petersen soon as an opner...

  • Ozcricketwriter on January 13, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    Quinton de Kock has to get a go. He is just as promising as Kallis was at this age so it is time to see if he can realise the potential in the way that Kallis did.

  • SurlyCynic on January 13, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    @jonesy2: A bit of 'one-eyed' bias there I'm afraid. Warner in the same class as Clarke, AB, Amla? Watson a class above Du Plessis as a batsman? Guess we've been watching a different Watson plonking his front foot down as a target.

    I can't wait for the series either, should be test cricket at its hardest. That's why I hope they select someone with gas, like Parnell, to come in for Kallis.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 13, 2014, 10:46 GMT

    Revised team. Selectors are too cowardly to select De Kock so team for Oz is:

    1. Smith 2. Petersen 3.Amla 4. Faff 5. AB 6. JP Duminy 7. Elgar 8. Vern 9. Abbott 10.SteynGun 11.Morkel.

    Picking Abbott instead of the ineffective R.Petersen ensures that we can have 7 specialist batsman, 4 front line seamers and 1 spinner.

    My worst nightmare and likely scenario is selectors picking R.Petersen instead of Abbott. They will then have to pick McClaren instead of Elgar to boost the seam bowling. This immediately weakens our bowling and batting in one foul swoop.

  • neo-galactico on January 13, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    Welcome back Jonesy don't go disappearing on us again when things go pear-shaped. I know Warner averages 50+ in Aus but his away performances have left a lot to be desired. Is he world class? Not @ all. Clarke is though although is away figures don't jump @ you. On the other hand, SA have AB, Hash and Smith as world class batsmen, add a couple of decent other batsmen like Faf and I doubt Oz will win but they should give SA a run for their money with their bowling

  • subbuamdavadi on January 13, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    @neo-galactico.....I followed your logic all the way and from your logical arguments I presume you are a South African. Just the point of the last point missed me completely...why "no Tsolekile even though he's the best gloveman in the country"? Will a specialist keeper at No. 7 who I presume is a decent (not great) bat weaken the side so much? Are the SAF top 6 so brittle that they need the support of no. 7 to consistently bail them out (a la Haddin for Australia)? Or are there non-cricketing reasons behind your point?

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 13, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    @ jonesy2 Thanks for my afternoon chuckle, Its Monday and I needed it !!! Australia salivating over SA batting line up...?? Have you seen the Oz batting line up? It looks like a T20 batting scorecard and only 1 playing in the top 10 ICC rankings as apposed to SA having 3. Harris, Johnson and Siddle. Been there and done that. Same attack- no suprises, they just had rubbish opposition at home.

    Anyway, South Africa have humiliated Australia in back to back series wins in Australia. But now its time for SA to beat Australia in SA. There have been too many drawn series here for my liking. I just cant wait to set that record straight!!

  • Romanticstud on January 13, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    I think that the order should be ...1) De Kock(W), Petersen, Amla, Du Plessis, Smith(C), De Villiers, Duminy, McLaren, Philander, Steyn, Morkel ... for all pace attack with Duminy a part-time spinner ... or 2) De Kock(W), Smith(C), Amla, Du Plessis, De Villiers, Duminy, McLaren, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Tahir/Peterson ... for a spin option ... De Kock is the best option to open with either Petersen or Smith ... If Petersen plays Smith should bat at 5 ... McLaren should be given a chance as an allrounder ... batting at 7-8.

  • BellCurve on January 13, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    To win against Aus, I'd go with the following XI: 1 Smith 2 Petersen 3 Amla 4 Van Zyl 5 AB (wk) 6 Faf 7 Duminy 8 Vern 9 Steyn 10 Morkel 11 Hendricks. The plan would be to blow them away with the 4 best strike bowlers in the country - Styen, Philander, Hendricks and Morkel. If needed, Duminy, Faf and Van Zyl can turn over their arms an tie up one end. Robbie P doesn't do more than that anyway. Van Zyl is necessary because he is Kallis-like in his approach to batting. We'll need that against the Aussie pacemen.

  • jonesy2 on January 13, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    the aussie bowlers will be salivating at the holes in the sth African batting lineup especially if du plessis goes to number 4 and nobody to bat at 7 and duminy at 6 and if de Villiers continues to keep. mitch will be looking to re-acquaint himself with south African digits and chins. steyn is a champion but it looks like he will be underdone and with no foreseeable threat from morkel from what ive seen of him throughout his career not to mention no spinner, I expect Australia to win this series. highest of world class batsmen: Clarke, warner. amla, de Villiers. at their best world class: both smiths, Watson, haddin. steady and consistent test match batters: rogers, du plessis. slightly below that/unproven: Petersen, bailey, duminy, whoever bats at 7 for SA. or something like that. I say advantage Australia in both batting and bowling but the proof is in the performance. bottom line, I cant wait for the series its going to be the best test series to be played for a long time.

  • creebo777 on January 13, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    parnell better bowler and batsman then mclaren but parnell has to continue playing four day cricket to see how he goes,lonwabo and kleinveldt shouldnt be near the protea test team..hendricks and abbott should be

  • CheerforUnderdogs on January 13, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    Why no mention of De Kock? Groom him at # 6 and let AB concentrate on batting. He can be looked as future opner as well....

  • SurlyCynic on January 13, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    I agree that De Kock needs to keep regularly for his franchise to improve his keeping, the Lions are misusing him as they play him as a specialist batsman and bat Tsolekile in the lower order - which makes no sense. Move to another province De Kock. As others have pointed out, Boucher came into the test team at 20 and improved his keeping rapidly.

    I would bring in Parnell for Kallis. He would add a handy left-arm seam option which would balance the attack. Yes, he hasn't been consistent but he has pace and can bowl wicket-taking deliveries. Extra firepower to take on the Aussies.

  • Starboomber on January 13, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    Interesting combinations from the comments. If I had my way I would include McClaren at 7. Dumminy is off form but I don't think he will be dropped any time soon. I feel 6 to 9(Dumminy, McClaren, Vern and Robin) should always give us at least 150+ runs per innings and maybe 3-4 wickets from Dumminy, McClaren & Robin....

  • Thuram3 on January 13, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Faf must bat at 4 and then bring in McLaren/Parnell to take up the all-rounder's spot. AB as a keeper shouldn't be batting higher than 5, and I don't think JP has developed enough as a test batsman to bat higher than his current position, number 6.

  • on January 13, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    What we have to realize is that we cannot replace Kallis with 1 player. We will need to pick an extra batsman and a 4th seamer. South Africa cannot play without 4 seamers., That's the only reason why our bowlers have been relatively injury free. I would bring in Stiaan Van Zyl to bat at no.4 and bat AB at 5, where he has been doing well. I would also play a horses for courses team where at Wanderer's you play 4 seamers, an extra batsman and no frontline spinner. At PE and Newlands I would drop the out of form batsman and play 4 seamers and Robbie P. His batting might help offset the loss of a top order batsman. My team for first test would be 1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4. Van Zyl 5. AB 6. Faf.7 JP 8. McLaren 9. Philander. 10. Steyn 11. Morkel.

  • neo-galactico on January 13, 2014, 9:11 GMT

    I love QdK but I don't think he's quite ready. I'm concerned with his defensive game, his bat does come straight enough when defending and that could be severely exposed @ test level. Plus his keeping is still a work in progress. Therefore, I'd like AB to keep the gloves for another year. Faf to bat @ 4, JP's batting has been a concern for a while but his bowling has improved a lot so I'll keep him in for now. The no.7 spot has to be between McLaren and Parnell. McLaren would be a more conservative option, whereas Parnell (like Finn) can be a match-winner or lose you the match single-handedly. There's Elgar, Abbott, De Lange in the queue as well. Will be interesting to see what the selectors go for. But please NO TSOLEKILE (even though he's the best gloveman in the country).

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on January 13, 2014, 9:11 GMT

    1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.AB 5.Faf 6.de Kock (wk) 7.parnell 8.Simon Harmer 9.Philander 10. Steyn 11. M Morkel or de Lange

  • stormy16 on January 13, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    If you want a selection dilema this is got to be one of the better ones. I think the key here is it could be a case of different folks for different conditions and teams. I think to get away from the 7 batter policy is dangerous in any condition thus Elgar is the best option at 7 and he brings spinning options. Three of the 4 bowlers (Steyn, Vern and Morkel) pick themselves and it will be a case of spinner V Rory/Mclaren/Abbot - all 3 offer some batting with Mclaren the best. I also agree that the long term plan should be to take the gloves off AB, he already has a back problem, and he could be much better batter, scary as that sounds, without the gloves. This would certainly mean De Kock should be on the cards. SA need to get past this quota issue, its 20 years after the change and you cant move forward if you keep going back!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 13, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    Abbott has to come in for R.Petersen. Just look at the bowling stats - R.Petersen's test bowling average is almost the same as JP Duminys. There is no point in having Petersen there. In the last Test against India, Petersen was slapped around the park with ease. So much so that Smith had to take him off - so why select him as a specialist spinner in the first place if he cant spin it !!!!!

    If JP Duminy doesn't get runs against Oz this series he has to be sacked and permanently replaced. I think he is mentally weak and not up for it.

    De Kock also needs to fire his manager. Why is he playing in the same team as Thami Tsokiele - thus denying him the chance to keep wicket. De Kock needs to change his Franchise.

  • rizwan1981 on January 13, 2014, 8:42 GMT

    Is it not strange that in a country where 80 % of the population is BLACK , there is NOT a single player representing the majority -Why is that there has not been any BLACK batsman EVER playing for SA - For the record( as explained many times by Ms.Moonda, , Alviro Peterson , Philander , Duminy are COLOURED and not Black)

  • on January 13, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    De Kock isn't even keeping for his province, you can't give him the gloves in a test match yet. He was also unbelievably lucky in the ODI's. I think he got dropped 4 or 5 times in those 3 innings. Hold back on him. It has to be Abbott or McLaren. We need 4 seamers on SA wickets. Possible to drop Peterson and play 4 seamers and an additional batsman. Against Aus, I think this is going to be an aggressive bowling series with a chance of low scores... We have to pick a team to break partnerships and that may be 4 out and out quicks... My choice is Abbott.

  • Shazy777 on January 13, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    @Pot_Blou_Gevaar i like your playing order but not batting order... 1. Smith 2. A. Peterson 3. Amla 4. Duminy 5. De Villiers 6.Faf 7. R. Peterson 8. Parnell 9. Philander 10. Steyn 11. Morkel... jp at no.4 give left/Right combination... he is out of form but remember form is temparory class is permenent... He is great batsman...!!! Elgar or De kock can replace A.petersen soon as an opner...

  • SICHO on January 13, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    Duminy shouldn't be selected as an 'all-rounder', NO!!! He'll chip in with a couple of cheap wickets and a 20 and think his job is done. He's a batsman and he should score runs to be in the squad. Lately he's been useless with the bat, a walking wicket really. If he doesn't deliver the goods against Australia he should be dropped. Our selectors are making him feel like he belongs in the elite list of the 'untouchables'. One thing I don't understand is why Tsolekile and Kleinveldt are in the squad. Tsolekile is weak with the bat no doubt and he'll weaken the batting line-up. Faf at 4 and a fast bowler who can bat might do it. Maybe a year or so De Kock might come in and we'll have a proper batting line-up.

  • TheCricketeer on January 13, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    Lets just say sticking an all rounder at 7 would be a terrible option. We have Duming, Philander and probably Elgar if he is picked as part time all rounders. We have wicket keeper who is the best batsman in the world. Even without Kallis we have plenty of flexibility in the side and therefore we have the ability to pick specialists and only a fool would do otherwise.

    With Duminy and Elgar in the side SA must remember that spinners in our team alomst always play a bit part role - especially at home. So go ahead and pick 7 batters, 3 seamers, and use the last spot to balance the side. For the most part - at home, Aus, England that will mean a fourth seamer with Duminy and Elgar helping out and most other places we can pick the spinner.

    With regards to the 4th seamer - in my opinion the quicker we get Hendriks in there the better.

  • on January 13, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Think South Africa should use Robin Peterson as an all-rounder at 7. As a bowler alone, Peterson may not be good enough, but the complete package is something else. Even an attack as good as that of South Africa's, need a proper frontline spinner, and JP Duminy isn't that man. In fact, Duminy's performances with the bat too needs to be looked at. Steyn, Philander and Morkel could then enjoy the comfort of an additional seamer, and that man could be Chris Morris who could be very handy at 8. Peterson, Morris and Philander at 7, 8, and 9 would help them strengthen the batting lineup that would be without Kallis, and there will be 4 seamers and a spinner as well.

  • Shongololo on January 13, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    @Greatest_Game Couldn't agree more...all this rubbish about de Kock's less than perfect keeping and young age is just that - rubbish. He's a far better batsman than Boucher at the same age...and at least his equal in keeping terms, so play the guy. As for Kleinveldt, his name should never be mentioned on the same page as Test selections as he's a shining example of the quota! Test team of Smith, Petersen, Amla, de Villiers, Du Plessis, Duminy (as spinner, too), de Kock, McLaren/Parnell, Philander, Steyn and Morkel does the job, giving us batting to number nine, four quicks/seamers and a spinner - and AB batting where he should...he's the obvious replacement for Kallis at 4.

  • RoyRulez on January 13, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    The biggest selection riddle of all times:

    Do you include a batsman? If so it is likely to be Elgar... But does he bat at 4 or 7? (remember he is an opener)... If 7 who bats at 4? Probably Faf...But then Elgar and JP have to be the all-rounders...

    Do yo pick an all-rounder? If so, who is it? McLaren or Parnel or Albie? Are Parnell and McLaren good enough for No. 7? Is Albie good enough to be trusted with the ball?

    Do you pick a bowler? Vern and Robbie are decent bats... but are they good enough for 7? Should they just pick the best paceman and let Vern bat at 7?

    Do you pick a wicket-keeper? If so, who? Thami or De Kock? Is Thami good enough to bat 7? Is it too early for De Kock? (upside of this is AB is free to bat at No. 4)... But can JP be a good enough all-rounder?

  • on January 13, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    What about playing straight by people who have done well in first class cricket? Abbot and Elgar have been doing fantastically in FC cricket and deserve a shot in the team - they have the best stats in the country. Abbot took a 5 wicket haul in his only test match. Elgar has been scoring huge double hundreds.

    Either drop Duminy OR play him as the spinner at 7.

    Team as everyone else has said but Elgar at 6 (back-up opener and to face the second new ball at 6), Duminy/Robbie P at 7, Abbot at 9.

  • on January 13, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    My SA team: 1. Smith (C), 2. Petersen, 3. Amla, 4. du Plessis, 5. de Villiers (WK), 6. Duminy, 7. Elgar, 8. Philander, 9. Abbott, 10. Steyn, 11. M Morkel.

    Non-playing squad members: Stiaan van Zyl, Quinton de Kock, Rory Kleinveldt, Robin Peterson.

  • B.C.G on January 13, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    @Greatest_Game-Why so harsh on McLaren?His F.C. stats as a bowler are nearly as good as Steyn's.He could be more of a Shaun Pollock than a Kallis.

    Also agree with you regarding useless JP.No attack,no defence.Complete choker i.e.joker.Whenever the batting above him is collapsing Duminy will immediately add to he collapse.He's a walking wicket these days.The MCG 2008 seems like a fluke.

  • on January 13, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    De Kock is a nice option to come in as a wicket keeper. PITY HE DOES NOT KEEP AT ALL FOR HIS FRANSCHISE!!!

  • Pot_Blou_Gevaar on January 13, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    I would go with Parnell as he'll give the Proteas the added dimension of a left-arm seamer - my starting 11 for the Australian test series then reading as follows; 1. Smith 2. A. Peterson 3. Amla 4. Faf 5. De Villiers 6. Duminy 7. Philander 8. R. Peterson 9. Parnell 10. Steyn 11. Morkel

    I'm also of the opinion that AB should be relieved from the glove-work soonest, bringing in De Kock at some stage. The last change I'd then make is to give the team reigns to Faf in all formats (once Smith retires) and have AB concentrate exclusively on batting. And fielding in the outfield off-course.

  • on January 13, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    @Vinay Kolhatkar I Cant understand why Albie Morkel isnt being considered for the no 7 slot either he is a much better batsman than Mclaren averages 40+ in first class cricket and they are similar bowlers with Mclaren the better containing bowler and Morkel the more attacking option.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 13, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    SA selectors will go for the easy option and not make the forward thinking, hard decisions they need to.

    AB is probably one of the most important batsman in that lineup - so why is he being overburdened with the Gloves and vice captaincy and what happens when he is made captain when Smith retires? De Kock needs to be in the starting 11 to take these burdens from AB. Thami is an excellent gloveman but not the best batsman he is also in his 30's already. De Kock gives you options to as an opener or an aggressive No.7

    McClaren and Parnell are not All-rounders. They are bowlers who can bat a bit - Vernon is probably a better batter too but he is not called an all-rounder. Duminy's form is also a huge concern, his batting average is going down, not up.

    1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.Faff 5.AB 6.Duminy 7.De Kock 8.Vern 9.Abbott 10.Steyn 11.Morkel

    Solid batting to 8, 4 frontline seamers and 1 spinner. Not bad

  • on January 13, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    My SA team: Smith, De Kock(wk), Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, Duminy, Subrayen/Harmer, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, de Lange

  • AB_DeVilliers on January 13, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    Mclaren at 7, and I would go Duminy at 4.

  • mzm149 on January 13, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    1. Petersen 2. Smith 3. Amla 4. Du Plessis 5. De Villiers 6. Duminy 7. McLaren 8. Peterson 9. Philander 10. Steyn 11. Morkel

    Duminy and Robin Peterson combine to give one decent spin option. McLaren and Robin Peterson combine to give complete batsman though not of calibre of Kallis.

    No doubt du Plessis is good but he is no where near class of de Villiers. Du Plessis has problems in playing spin bowling as we saw in UAE. He is suited for number 4 position in non Asian conditions. But when facing quality spin bowling order can be reshuffled, may be bringing de Villiers and Duminy up the order.

  • Ronald_T on January 13, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Greatest_game you are right, it's impossible to replace an all rounder similar to Kallis. He is once a lifetime player like Warne, Murali, Tendulkar, Wasim Akram to name a few. It's time to build your side with what is available, no point is hunting for an all rounder

  • on January 13, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    Faf at 4 and DeVee at 5 is perfect. Duminy at 6 is also correct. Albie Morkel, who has often outbatted many a specialist batsman is the logical 7. Albie can't bat like Kallis, but he can bowl like Kallis, as a pacer no 4. In first-class cricket, his stats are amazing, even as a batsman. Coming at 7, he just needs to bat well enough, not as good as Kallis. Why is his name missing from this article?

  • Ronald_T on January 13, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    If SA want to develop Duminy as a spinner, then he needs to be given time. My fourth fast bowler would be Beuran Hendricks, a good left arm bowler who I feel could be the next Wasim Akram with proper guidance

  • Greatest_Game on January 13, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    Duminy is not an all-rounder. He can't bat! He has had his chances, again and again, and is completely unreliable. More reliable is the batting of Robbie P or Philander.

    Rory Kleinveldt is not an all-rounder. He can't bowl. He has had his chances - not as many as Duminy, but enough to know that he does not have what it takes.

    Thami Tsolokike is not an all-rounder. He can't bat. If he could he would have had Boucher's job. Period. He keeps well, but his batting is as weak as Duminy's. If Duminy should go because his batting sucks, why bring in someone else whose batting sucks just as badly. Interestingly, SA do have a keeper whose can bat, but his keeping needs more experience & polishing - just like Bopucher's did when he was picked at a similar age, and became a keeping great. de Kock is a much better batsman though.

    Wayne Parnell is not an all-rounder. He can't bat & he can't bowl - half the time. The other half he can.

    McLaren does not make the side as a batsman or as a bowler

  • Buckers97 on January 13, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    South African Team should look like this; Smith, Petersen, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, a young no.6, Duminy, Philander, Steyn, Abbott, Morkel.

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  • Buckers97 on January 13, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    South African Team should look like this; Smith, Petersen, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, a young no.6, Duminy, Philander, Steyn, Abbott, Morkel.

  • Greatest_Game on January 13, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    Duminy is not an all-rounder. He can't bat! He has had his chances, again and again, and is completely unreliable. More reliable is the batting of Robbie P or Philander.

    Rory Kleinveldt is not an all-rounder. He can't bowl. He has had his chances - not as many as Duminy, but enough to know that he does not have what it takes.

    Thami Tsolokike is not an all-rounder. He can't bat. If he could he would have had Boucher's job. Period. He keeps well, but his batting is as weak as Duminy's. If Duminy should go because his batting sucks, why bring in someone else whose batting sucks just as badly. Interestingly, SA do have a keeper whose can bat, but his keeping needs more experience & polishing - just like Bopucher's did when he was picked at a similar age, and became a keeping great. de Kock is a much better batsman though.

    Wayne Parnell is not an all-rounder. He can't bat & he can't bowl - half the time. The other half he can.

    McLaren does not make the side as a batsman or as a bowler

  • Ronald_T on January 13, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    If SA want to develop Duminy as a spinner, then he needs to be given time. My fourth fast bowler would be Beuran Hendricks, a good left arm bowler who I feel could be the next Wasim Akram with proper guidance

  • on January 13, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    Faf at 4 and DeVee at 5 is perfect. Duminy at 6 is also correct. Albie Morkel, who has often outbatted many a specialist batsman is the logical 7. Albie can't bat like Kallis, but he can bowl like Kallis, as a pacer no 4. In first-class cricket, his stats are amazing, even as a batsman. Coming at 7, he just needs to bat well enough, not as good as Kallis. Why is his name missing from this article?

  • Ronald_T on January 13, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Greatest_game you are right, it's impossible to replace an all rounder similar to Kallis. He is once a lifetime player like Warne, Murali, Tendulkar, Wasim Akram to name a few. It's time to build your side with what is available, no point is hunting for an all rounder

  • mzm149 on January 13, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    1. Petersen 2. Smith 3. Amla 4. Du Plessis 5. De Villiers 6. Duminy 7. McLaren 8. Peterson 9. Philander 10. Steyn 11. Morkel

    Duminy and Robin Peterson combine to give one decent spin option. McLaren and Robin Peterson combine to give complete batsman though not of calibre of Kallis.

    No doubt du Plessis is good but he is no where near class of de Villiers. Du Plessis has problems in playing spin bowling as we saw in UAE. He is suited for number 4 position in non Asian conditions. But when facing quality spin bowling order can be reshuffled, may be bringing de Villiers and Duminy up the order.

  • AB_DeVilliers on January 13, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    Mclaren at 7, and I would go Duminy at 4.

  • on January 13, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    My SA team: Smith, De Kock(wk), Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, Duminy, Subrayen/Harmer, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, de Lange

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 13, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    SA selectors will go for the easy option and not make the forward thinking, hard decisions they need to.

    AB is probably one of the most important batsman in that lineup - so why is he being overburdened with the Gloves and vice captaincy and what happens when he is made captain when Smith retires? De Kock needs to be in the starting 11 to take these burdens from AB. Thami is an excellent gloveman but not the best batsman he is also in his 30's already. De Kock gives you options to as an opener or an aggressive No.7

    McClaren and Parnell are not All-rounders. They are bowlers who can bat a bit - Vernon is probably a better batter too but he is not called an all-rounder. Duminy's form is also a huge concern, his batting average is going down, not up.

    1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.Faff 5.AB 6.Duminy 7.De Kock 8.Vern 9.Abbott 10.Steyn 11.Morkel

    Solid batting to 8, 4 frontline seamers and 1 spinner. Not bad

  • on January 13, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    @Vinay Kolhatkar I Cant understand why Albie Morkel isnt being considered for the no 7 slot either he is a much better batsman than Mclaren averages 40+ in first class cricket and they are similar bowlers with Mclaren the better containing bowler and Morkel the more attacking option.