Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 17, 2014

SA mull over No. 7 conundrum

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South Africa will probably make one change for the second Test against Australia in Port Elizabeth, and it is likely to be at No.7. Andrew Hudson, the convener of selectors, admitted that South Africa are still working on getting the balance of their side right following the retirement of Jacques Kallis, and suggested that the role, given to Ryan McLaren in the first Test, may still be tinkered with.

"There might be a change but it will be a tweak. It's unlikely we are going to bring someone in from outside," Hudson said at the announcement of the World Twenty20 squad in Johannesburg. "Maybe we need to re-look at our No. 7 position. It's back to the dilemma of getting a balance - a squad that's balanced in Port Elizabeth conditions, that can be low and slow and sometimes can turn."

Despite singling out the spinner's role as a key one in the coastal city, Hudson provided the closest thing he could to an assurance that Robin Peterson's spot is safe, although he hinted the selectors are running out of patience- "We may need to consider putting in a batter at seven and then going with the three quicks and Robbie P."

Peterson took six wickets on his Test return in Perth in 2012, and kept his place throughout the last home summer as well as at the start of South Africa's tour to the UAE. There, in Abu Dhabi, he went wicketless and conceded 125 runs and was replaced with Imran Tahir. But when Tahir copped it against India at the Wanderers, Peterson was recalled again. He took four wickets against India in Durban and three against Australia in Centurion, but has continued to leak runs.

With only Imran Tahir as an alternative spin option at the moment, and Hudson saying the net will not be cast too far, Peterson and JP Duminy will continue to share the slow-bowling duties. Duminy, despite scoring a half-century seven innings ago, will also likely keep his place but may have a safety net in another batsmen to follow him, as Hudson hinted. Dean Elgar, who also bowls left-arm spin, would be the only choice from the current squad.

"There's no doubt JP's a class act. His form hasn't been great, but we all know he's a quality and he's done it before against Australia," Hudson said. "That's the dilemma - whether you play an all-rounder at seven, which gives you the insurance, or whether you go in like Australia and back your players to do a job with four bowlers."

Should South Africa decide on another all-rounder in the role and choose not to give McLaren another go, Wayne Parnell and Rory Kleinveldt are the two candidates available to them. Parnell's home ground is St George's Park and he offers pace but his inconsistency will be a worry, while Kleinveldt will beef up the lower middle order and would be required to do more of a holding job with the ball.

Whatever combination they decide on, Hudson expects the team to put up a better show than they did in Centurion. "They didn't play as well as they could have, and a few things went against them. But the team underperformed and it needs to pick up a gear in Port Elizabeth," he said. "It's about really application. It's about the players rallying together and realising they're up against it. Australia played really well; we were under par. There's no doubt they are the right players. They need to step up to the plate."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • everfaithful77 on February 19, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    I'm surprised that the SA selectors are still having a problem in deciding on a squad for the next test despite the injury to McLaren. DeKOCK is your man. I saw this guy bat in the ODI's against India and I was very impressed. He's a talent. He scores all around the ground, very aggressive but also has good good defensive technique. His approach is the right one for Johnson which is to score at every opportunity yet be solid in defense. Johnson might get frustrated if SA batsmen attack him successfully. Kallis's retirement left a big empty space in the SA test squad but trying to replace him with an allrounder may not be necessary right now. SA still has probably the best fast bowling team in the world with Stein, Morkel & Philander. Petersen has proven his ability with bat and ball. Duminy is also a good part time spinner. Remember it is this same attack that recently beat India. It's the batting that needs support. DeKock should play as keeper to free DeVilliers who's the best bat.

  • __PK on February 19, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    Pick a real keeper. Problem solved.

  • KPWij on February 19, 2014, 1:29 GMT

    In the past year there has not been a fast bowler that has dominated opposition team planning quite like Mitch Johnson. His form is comparable to the 80s Windies speedsters as it is not only statistically fearsome but also physically (all those bruises) and mentally draining. SA only have problems because everyone except AB have been tormented by Johnson. The bowling is fine but it is so hard to compete in games when you can not score in excess of 200 in an innings. I feel peterson should make way for Parnel/Abbot, De Kock in for Alviro and another batsmen in for McClaren. I think its time to give De Kock a go at the top maybe Alviro can do a job down the order. Regardless what changes SA make, they will lose this series barring rain unless they stop Johnson. Doing that seems impossible to me unless he gets an injury or can not play... just so much confidence at the moment. Australia to win this 3-0 and jump upto number 2 in the world...

  • Shongololo on February 18, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    To all those frustrated fans laying into Andrew Hudson, I understand your frustration and feel it every time a mediocre squad is selected. But let's be fair - Andrew Hudson is the front man, there are lots of manoeuvrings going on in the background, there's horse-trading to appease the politicians...and that's just the start. Poor Andrew is on a hiding to nothing and I'm pretty sure that in a quieter moment, over an evening beer in the privacy of his home, he'd tell you just that...that the squad has too many ordinary players in it, that his hands are tied and there's sweet FA he can do about it. Better to direct your ire to Cricket SA.

  • on February 18, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    Well said Biohazard! I agree with most of your analysis.

  • on February 18, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    SA need Marchant de lange or Abbott for the second test along with the 3 quicks

  • on February 18, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    not trying to be dismissive at all, rather trying to see things in perspective. Siddle and Harris are good bowlers, I think Harris could have been spoken of as a possible great bowler if not for injuries but i think Aus is playing down MJ impact to prevent them seeming like a one man team. no doubt they've got good players but before the home leg of the ashes australia was in the gutters now they leading the pack. as good as siddle, harris and lyon are MJ has given the team a huge dose of confidence. where was all the talk of best attack before the ashes. australia has always played well in SA, having never lost a series. while Australia has played at centurion once i think they've scored plenty of runs in SA before. The difference now is SA cant score runs in their backyard because of MJ. i hope MJ sprains a ankle because i was enjoying wathing SA beating the Aussies after years of torment.

  • Amit_13 on February 18, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    Duminy is to South Africa what Raina is to India. Just potential. Never kintetic ;-)

  • on February 18, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Counterfactuals are waste of time, lets not waste time there.But you cant be dismissive of Siddle and Harris. Personally I dont like the way Siddle bowls, but he does a mighty fine job when Midge and Harris are at the other end.We can go through the Gabba test again and see how Lyon completely destroyed Carberry's footwork and then Johnson seized on it and then Lyon got two wickets.All I am saying that Mitch is getting wickets, but he is ably aided by others.And this was the highest score by the touring batting first at Centurion ,hence it was special, since 97 have been watching on TV how centurion plays ,its nightmare most of the time for teams batting first and hence 397 was special.

  • Biohazard7279 on February 18, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    I'm so infuriated about this squad selection that I've decided to post another comment. Truth is this squad isn't an accurate representation of the talent in South Africa. Vetgat Kleinveldt has never impressed anyone, Tsolekile will make a mediocre number 9 batsman, Parnell is way too wayward, Alviro Petersen's form is non-existant, Robbie P can't turn a doorknob, JP Duminy has been owing us a decent innings for several years, Morne Morkel has been riding on Philander's and Steyn's successes and McLaren isn't in the top 10 bowlers or top 30 batsman in South Africa! Hudson is way too conservative in picking the squad. Several young guns have been knocking on the door, or should I say bashing it with a battering hammer, for several years? In what world is Kleinveldt better than Abbott or Hendricks? What more can Stiaan van Zyl and Rillee Rossouw do to be included in the squad? Simon Harmer is almost 10 years Robbie P's junior, yet he bats and bowls better! Wake up dear Mr. Hudson!

  • everfaithful77 on February 19, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    I'm surprised that the SA selectors are still having a problem in deciding on a squad for the next test despite the injury to McLaren. DeKOCK is your man. I saw this guy bat in the ODI's against India and I was very impressed. He's a talent. He scores all around the ground, very aggressive but also has good good defensive technique. His approach is the right one for Johnson which is to score at every opportunity yet be solid in defense. Johnson might get frustrated if SA batsmen attack him successfully. Kallis's retirement left a big empty space in the SA test squad but trying to replace him with an allrounder may not be necessary right now. SA still has probably the best fast bowling team in the world with Stein, Morkel & Philander. Petersen has proven his ability with bat and ball. Duminy is also a good part time spinner. Remember it is this same attack that recently beat India. It's the batting that needs support. DeKock should play as keeper to free DeVilliers who's the best bat.

  • __PK on February 19, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    Pick a real keeper. Problem solved.

  • KPWij on February 19, 2014, 1:29 GMT

    In the past year there has not been a fast bowler that has dominated opposition team planning quite like Mitch Johnson. His form is comparable to the 80s Windies speedsters as it is not only statistically fearsome but also physically (all those bruises) and mentally draining. SA only have problems because everyone except AB have been tormented by Johnson. The bowling is fine but it is so hard to compete in games when you can not score in excess of 200 in an innings. I feel peterson should make way for Parnel/Abbot, De Kock in for Alviro and another batsmen in for McClaren. I think its time to give De Kock a go at the top maybe Alviro can do a job down the order. Regardless what changes SA make, they will lose this series barring rain unless they stop Johnson. Doing that seems impossible to me unless he gets an injury or can not play... just so much confidence at the moment. Australia to win this 3-0 and jump upto number 2 in the world...

  • Shongololo on February 18, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    To all those frustrated fans laying into Andrew Hudson, I understand your frustration and feel it every time a mediocre squad is selected. But let's be fair - Andrew Hudson is the front man, there are lots of manoeuvrings going on in the background, there's horse-trading to appease the politicians...and that's just the start. Poor Andrew is on a hiding to nothing and I'm pretty sure that in a quieter moment, over an evening beer in the privacy of his home, he'd tell you just that...that the squad has too many ordinary players in it, that his hands are tied and there's sweet FA he can do about it. Better to direct your ire to Cricket SA.

  • on February 18, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    Well said Biohazard! I agree with most of your analysis.

  • on February 18, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    SA need Marchant de lange or Abbott for the second test along with the 3 quicks

  • on February 18, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    not trying to be dismissive at all, rather trying to see things in perspective. Siddle and Harris are good bowlers, I think Harris could have been spoken of as a possible great bowler if not for injuries but i think Aus is playing down MJ impact to prevent them seeming like a one man team. no doubt they've got good players but before the home leg of the ashes australia was in the gutters now they leading the pack. as good as siddle, harris and lyon are MJ has given the team a huge dose of confidence. where was all the talk of best attack before the ashes. australia has always played well in SA, having never lost a series. while Australia has played at centurion once i think they've scored plenty of runs in SA before. The difference now is SA cant score runs in their backyard because of MJ. i hope MJ sprains a ankle because i was enjoying wathing SA beating the Aussies after years of torment.

  • Amit_13 on February 18, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    Duminy is to South Africa what Raina is to India. Just potential. Never kintetic ;-)

  • on February 18, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Counterfactuals are waste of time, lets not waste time there.But you cant be dismissive of Siddle and Harris. Personally I dont like the way Siddle bowls, but he does a mighty fine job when Midge and Harris are at the other end.We can go through the Gabba test again and see how Lyon completely destroyed Carberry's footwork and then Johnson seized on it and then Lyon got two wickets.All I am saying that Mitch is getting wickets, but he is ably aided by others.And this was the highest score by the touring batting first at Centurion ,hence it was special, since 97 have been watching on TV how centurion plays ,its nightmare most of the time for teams batting first and hence 397 was special.

  • Biohazard7279 on February 18, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    I'm so infuriated about this squad selection that I've decided to post another comment. Truth is this squad isn't an accurate representation of the talent in South Africa. Vetgat Kleinveldt has never impressed anyone, Tsolekile will make a mediocre number 9 batsman, Parnell is way too wayward, Alviro Petersen's form is non-existant, Robbie P can't turn a doorknob, JP Duminy has been owing us a decent innings for several years, Morne Morkel has been riding on Philander's and Steyn's successes and McLaren isn't in the top 10 bowlers or top 30 batsman in South Africa! Hudson is way too conservative in picking the squad. Several young guns have been knocking on the door, or should I say bashing it with a battering hammer, for several years? In what world is Kleinveldt better than Abbott or Hendricks? What more can Stiaan van Zyl and Rillee Rossouw do to be included in the squad? Simon Harmer is almost 10 years Robbie P's junior, yet he bats and bowls better! Wake up dear Mr. Hudson!

  • on February 18, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    @ameya, its not a major achievement to score 400runs in a first innings, its what all teams try to do and many teams do. what is outstanding is taking 12 SA wickets at their fortress. MJ is allowing Aus to play the cricket they want to. Remind me what Aus was doing while MJ was MIA. not much. they were competing but not winning. I believe that he completely transformed their team from a good one to probably the best team at the moment. The reason they dont top the rankings is because they've been white washed in India and beaten in Eng. Would that have happened if MJ was in the team i dont think so. MJ has had an astounding effect on Aus, if ever there was a one man show its this current Aus team. They are a good team but without MJ nothing as special as they would like to believe and their record supports that fact. As soon as MJ is not available we'll see how good they really are, time will tell. But credit is due to the way MJ is being used to his max potential.

  • heathrf1974 on February 18, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    I'd pick Abbott/Parnell for Morkel and Elgar for Petersen.

  • dean4 on February 18, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    MJ is definitely lethal at the moment. Why would we play it safe? This is why Australia always got the better of us during the Warne/Mcgrath era. Select the young in form players that want to win into the positions where we are lacking. @amfas, Miller would relish at the opportunity to take on MJ. David warner was labelled the same, now he is a permanent fixture at the top of the order making big runs by taking opposition pace attack on.

  • on February 18, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    @Arno its incorrect to say Australia is one man team .For One Mitch had comfort of 400 runs so definitely batting is great.And going by your logic ,the entire South African team took 14/700 probably even worse than Harris and Siddle.The tightness of Harris and Siddle allows Johnson to attack and Johnson's attack allows Harris and Siddle to be accurate.A symbiotic relationship where one feeds of the other.And Lyon unravels lots of batsmen with his squeeze. So please accept that this kind of thinking has actually got SA in trouble and now they are deer in headlights. There are far too many journeymen in your team let alone your squad and Steyn's action isnt looking correct after the India series.The wrist isnt behind the ball completely and ball is mostly up in fingers.Philander has lost his zip and probably wont be threat for the series since the length he bowls is too short without the zip. There are problems there and need to be sorted out before PE

  • Janb on February 18, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    I'm sorry Andrew Hudson - but "tinkering" is not going to help. We don't have good enough all rounders in SA to fill the number 7 spot! Neither Mclaren nor Parnell is good enough to make any international team as bowlers or badsman. Make up your mind - do you need a badsman or a bowler and then select a professional in that area. I.e Abbot or de Kock

  • on February 18, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    @Arno

    On current form i'm not sure Morne Morkel is one of our best 4. His lines and lengths are incredibly erratic currently, not sure on stats but his strike rate is far down as well. Hendricks and Abbot are currently banging down the door to the test team.

    The plus side is we at least dont have Cullinen as selector, he reckoned Tsolikile should be in.

  • on February 18, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    Duminy a class act according to Hudson, who averages 32, 3 more than the great Robin Peterson. One of our major problems is Mr nice guy Hudson whose selections are archaic. Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Duminy and the grossly overrated Morkel, I know there are hungrier, gutsier better players available. The reserves are a total joke and not the next best in their positions.

  • on February 18, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    @mark, maybe not all but in general the baby gets thrown out. i would like to see our best 4 bowlers in action all the time. at the moment that excludes robbie. but consistency in selection has brought SA success and thats why the players are being backed and not dropped after facing the new ball in SA that very few can cope with. The team will change over time, but not because of MJ thunderbolts. its hard for saffers to get dominated by the aussies, but its all a one man show and not sustainable. MJ is the one covering the aussie cracks and like i said earlier if we can survive MJ we'll be ok but thats almost impossible at the moment.

  • Geeva on February 18, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    Seven batsman sounds very defensive..if 6 cant get the runs i doubt 7 will...duminy is not scocing runs.....How many innings does he need??

  • crockit on February 18, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    Test cricket is not for bits and pieces players. Peterson fits into that category and should probably be more a squad player who comes in where the wickets really don't suit the quicks. Where they do SA have an opportunity to put Duminy at 7 and pick the 4 best quicks they can muster. From the commentary this means picking Parnell or Abbott to go with current 3. Batting wise when facing v quick bowling you need players who are courageous and assertive but not so egotistical that they can't show discretion about what and when to attack

  • on February 18, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    @Arno

    These are'nt knee jerking reactions. Even when SA are playing well it's because our best few are carrying the rest. Alviro Peterson only scores runs when he is going tk be dropped. Robbie P doesn't turn the ball enough to trouble anyone, and his batting is not consistent enough to be a genuine all rounder. JP hasnt been the same since his achillis injury, although i do believe he still has a role in the side.

    As i said earlier, only 2 changes needed really, with a re-jig of the batting line up.

  • Newlandsfaithful on February 18, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Number 7 is a problem? What about misfiring number 1,2,3,5 and 6? Give Hudders some strong coffee!

  • on February 18, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    @amfas, totally agree and the knee jerking on these forums are scary. people dont seem to realise the effect that MJ is having on not only aus cricket but world cricket. the guy is turning games on its head single handed. SA has a record lead in the rankings and even if we get white washed and that is a good possibility if Mitch continues in this form then we'll still be no. 1 and we'll continue to win test matches because of the depth we have. we'll have to ride out the MJ storm and enjoy the one man show. I hope my team can do something special against MJ because Siddle and Harris got 4 wickets in the match for more than 200 runs, showing how special they are.

  • MattHammer101 on February 18, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    The no.6 and 7 spots along with the spinner are real concerns.Duminy needs time at the crease to get confidence back but doesnt seem to remmeber how to build an innings.Maclaren looks ok against medium stuff but against 145km - just a matter of time.Robin P and Tahir can both travel round the park.Robin P showed he has no idea against 145km bowling as well.That and the fact some of top order could not sway and drop hands is problem.Unfortunately guys like Miller, De Kock would be targeted and is a big ask to come in against MJ and Harris.My selection would be to drop Morkel for P.E - replace with Abbot.Drop Robin P - play Elgar, let Duminy do spin.If the wicket keeps a bit low,Maclaren might beuseful if bowling off stump line.Morkel bangs it in and actually might help batters with ball coming on.Alviro has been poor but should maybe get one more chance in P.E.

  • on February 18, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    While I agree De kok should be in, no chance he should open. Keeping is a tiresome job alone, it would be expecting alot to come out and bay after 100+ overs in the field. Just read Mclaren is out with concussion, and they are just picking out of the 14 now... Tsolikile and Kleinnveld are getting nearer the 11! :-S

  • Hotlikewasabi on February 18, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    Selection headache indeed. Inconsistent combined with useless bowling avg. Wayne P vs. Vetgat Kleinveldt vs. neither here nor there McLaren. I wouldn't know who to pick either to be honest. This talk of not "casting the net wider" and not blooding anyone new against the Aussies is retarded. Vern made his debut against Oz in CT and look where he's now. Same with Jacques and Sachin when given a chance as precocious talents. But no, in SA it's the good old lager mentality. Conservative and afraid of losing instead of playing to win. Repeating the same mistakes in the hope of something different happening is ... correct, idiotic. Bring in De Kock, Elgar and Hendricks for Petersen, McLaren and Peterson respectively and play like a side that wants to win and not a side that doesn't want to loose. Possibly a reflection of Hudson's character who was more the conservative than dynamic batsman.

  • on February 18, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Why you want to counter Johnson with a left hander.Its stupid and incredibly dangerous to keep adding left handers when Johnsons around.You ideally need a blocker to take the sting out of the attack.Harris was pathetic in 1st inns, but improved by the time 2 inns came,which tells me the other end wont be leaking as much runs.

  • amfas on February 18, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    @tommytuckersaffa It's a problem that AUS has had to deal with and one that every team goes through at some time. The balance shifts with retirement, injuries & just "Out of Form" players. SA are too good a team not to bounce back and AUS must be wary of a possible backlash. Selection is also a problem area and I guess it has a lot to do with personalties rather than informed individuals. @dean4 As good as Miller is a one day specialist finds it a very different can of worms in the test arena. AUS would target the new kid on the block just as hard as they have with recognised players who have been in the game for years. As long as SA selectors have no external pressure exerted on them I believe a better balance to this side will only be possible at the end of the series. AUS 2-0

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 18, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    I am afraid Gents, that the changes we want will only come after the series home loss to Australia and only then maybe some heads will roll. I love my team, but I really see a 3-0 coming our way based on the current team selection. We need more progressive, risk-taking senior management in SA cricket to bring more youthful talent to the test Arena. Try things, give people a chance.

    I still find it amazing, just how long players like JP, Robbie P, Alviro and Morkel managed to still stay in the team with below average performances for 18 months plus. I can only put it down to Kallis covering cracks, success on the back of AB/Amla/Vern/Steyn and the çliqueness thats exists in the current test setup.

  • dean4 on February 18, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    Bring Miller in to target Johnson, with free reign. He is probably best ball striker in SA at the moment, why not use him, nothing wrong with going after some of the bowlers in test cricket. Reckon if Miller could go after Johnson, will disrupt Aussie game plan

  • pulkit10 on February 18, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    They're making the same mistake England made after their ascend to #1 - they're trying too hard to hold on to it. What's the point of playing the number game if you cannot beat a visiting team on home turf?

    Pick 6 decent batsmen and 4 decent bowlers and fill that one spot with someone who can do both or offers value/variation to either role. You can't keep picking players who aren't performing and expect to win series after series. The pace attack is doing fine and cannot be written off after one bad game but they need to nail it down with Philander and Morkel that they need to be disciplined. Steyn will do his job but he needs support. Also, drop Robin Peterson - he brings no value to the attack. You already have Duminy doing his job. Either trust him with that or bring Tahir in.

    Ideally I'd like this squad: Peterson, Smith, Amla, du Plessis, de Villiers, de Kock, Duminy, Philander, Abott, Steyn and Morkel but that won't happen so McLaren in de Kock's place and Parnell in Abott's.

  • petlot on February 18, 2014, 3:55 GMT

    Agree 100% with Biohazard7279. R Peterson was a bit of a disgrace against Johnson. A Petersen is clearly out of form and hasn't done anything for over a year. His age counts against him in trying to persist with him. AB needs to bat at 4 so that he hopefully doesn't run out of partners. For that his keeper role has to pass on to Q de Kock. JP Duminy also out of form with the bat and his bowling is only a stopgap. Time to make some bold decisions and introduce the younger brigade. And please guys - learn to duck and sway and cop a few, without pathetically trying to fend it off with the hands in front of the face - do it like AB - that's why he eventually had to face a lot less bouncers. And leave the good balls off offstump that is non-threatening. 1 Smith 2 Rossouw 3 Amla 4 AB 5 Faf 6 S van Zyl 7 de Kock 8 Philander 9 Steyn 10 Morkel 11 B Hendricks 12 S Harmer (who can play on the turners and will bolster the batting too)

  • on February 18, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    Rory K got a thrashing in Oz. Philander bowls at 125. Morne is inconsistent. They need wholesale changes: Smith De Kock, Amla, Du P, AB, Albie, Duminy, Parnell, Steyn, De Lange and Kyle Abbott.

  • Shongololo on February 18, 2014, 0:44 GMT

    @ZCFOutkast - now there's a team to gift Australia the second Test. You really need to remove your deep-seated prejudices. I have nothing more to say...

  • on February 17, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    I completely agree. I can't understand why we persist with players that haven't proven anything on the international stage despite been given plenty of opportunity. Hendricks and Harmer deserve a chance as does De Kock.SA are way too predictable in their selection policy. If there were any other options available I'd be looking for a replacement for Smith. It's a pity Johan Botha wasn't more skillful as SA are really lacking a brains trust at the moment.

  • lesamourai on February 17, 2014, 22:10 GMT

    @CodandChips and others recommending Tahir. Surely you must be joking, right? The last time Tahir played against Australia in Adelaide, the Aussie batsmen took him down for 260 runs at OVER 7 RUNS PER OVER. He took no wickets. And that was under the super cautious, passive coaching of Mickey Arthur. Can you imagine what would happen to Tahir now - under Lehmann, who encourages super aggressive tactics against spinners (witness the end of Swann's career), and with the Australian batsmen full of confidence? It would be a bloodbath, and too gruesome to even be properly entertaining.

  • Greatest_Game on February 17, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa noted "@SA_Scot I take it your post about Robbie P was sarcastic right? He wouldn't even make the Afghanistan team."

    Absolutely he would not make the Afghan team. The Afghan U19 team just beat the Aus U19 team - that gives you some idea of how good they are! I don't think JP, never mind Robbie, would even make the Afghan U19 team.

  • Chris_P on February 17, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    @Marc Wolmarans. I am not so sure we think out of the box either, after all, Marsh was selected with NO form! And Watson was persevered with even though his performances were dreadful (in tests). From my POV, AB without gloves, would be a further improvement although no doubt, presently, he is the premier batsman in test cricket. Cricket, between Sth A/Aus has always been tough encounters & most of us definitely have no issues with you guys being #1 as you have thoroughly earned it.

  • stormy16 on February 17, 2014, 18:43 GMT

    SA are just confusing themselves. We all know Kallis's only remote replacement is Sorbers so get over the option to replace Kallis, it simply does not exist. If they want to play five bowlers, the next bowler in the rank is Abbot by a county mile, Mclaren and Parnel dont even compete for the next bowlers spot. The point is SA must play 7 batters and Duminy is playing on borrowed time and Aus in the current form are probably his worst nightmare but also opportunity to make a statement - the guy needs run in the second test. SA needs to stand up in the second test, they simpy cannot afford to have another centurian performance.

  • Biohazard7279 on February 17, 2014, 18:18 GMT

    Let's be honest, the squad is absolutely horrible. Despite several excellent performances players like Abbott, Hendricks, De Kock, Rossouw and Van Zyl aren't even in the squad. It boggles my mind how Tsolekile and Kleinveldt are there. McLaren batting isn't good enough to bat at 7 and isn't in the top 10 bowlers in the country. Parnell's batting is worse than McLaren's and his bowling is way too inconsistent to be playing tests. Peterson is a useful batsman, but he can't be used to take wickets or create pressure, therefore he has no purpose, Duminy is almost as good a spinner.

    This is a far better squad: Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Faf du Plessis, AB De Villiers, Kyle Abbott, Beuran Hendricks, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Simon Harmer, Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Stiaan van Zyl, Vernon Philander and Rilee Rossouw.

    It is impossible to replace Jacques Kallis, so don't try to. 7 batsman and 4 bowlers is the way forward. Only the best batsman and bowlers should play!

  • Alexk400 on February 17, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    problem was morkel and philander. They were ineffive especially morkel. With all the physical ability morkel do not deliver most times. SA putting too much pressure on Steyn and he will break down if this continues. SA openers also bad.

  • RibhavBansal on February 17, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    First of All, Mr. Hudson, you hurry up the retirement of Kallis, and then to replace him, you use two bits and pieces players, Mclaren and Peterson. Both of them combined are not the bowler he was and we do not even need to discuss about the batting capabilities. This is coming from a huge Sachin fan, I never understood the reason why Kallis was forced to retire, he clearly had at least another year of cricket left in him.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    @ScumsieFraudneer Well said. 95% of Morkels deliveries don't hit the wickets so he immediately rules out LBW or bowled. He actually has a poor record and has been included in the team on the back of Vernon and Steyns success, as he provides ' nice variation' to the other two bowlers.

    The bottom line is his Test record is actually very poor at 30 for a strike bowler and there are far better bowlers in SA. Abbot, Hendricks, etc.

    I just find selection so frustrating in SA. Its not politics, its cliqueness in the squad and a membership club which no one can break into no matter how good they are.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    @SA_Scot I take it your post about Robbie P was sarcastic right? He wouldn't even make the Afghanistan team.

  • Beertjie on February 17, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    Moving the deckchairs, Hudson. In that case I'll guess the same top 6, with Parnell at 7. Then when that doesn't work, for Newlands Elgar will replace Parnell, and Kleinveldt for Robbie P. South African conservatism (in cricket as well as in broader society) is why I am an adopted Aussie.

  • PaulJvR on February 17, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    Surely Morne Morkel needs to be dropped at some point as he brings nothing to the party, he does bowl fast but he really is the least threatening fast bowler on earth. Almost 90% of the balls he bowls are short and wide of off stump so no batsman need to actually play them. His record does not justify the claims on him being a strike bowler. Bowling average of 30 only six 5 wicket hauls in his career ever. Really he is most overrated bowler in the SA team and his supposed skills are more legend than reality. Please can the selectors actually pick players on statistics not ones who 'bowl with a heavy ball' or get 'freakish bounce' and other such ridiculous phrases.

  • on February 17, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    @SA_Scot

    Robbie P would outbowl and outbat anyone in my local premier division as well, truth is he is only a bit part player internationally. As for the mindset, amla opens in 50 and 20 over cricket so wouldnt be a massive change in mindset. He seems to be in a slight lull of form, give him a fresh challenge and i reckon he will thrive again.

    Sad thing is as was pointed out earlier our points are all mute, as Hudson is too narrowminded to think outside the box like the aussies do. or even going on a hunch, ie aussies fastracking marsh back in ahaead of hughes.

  • vallavarayar on February 17, 2014, 16:34 GMT

    SA should stop naming some alrounder in Kallis' place and expecting them to do Kallis' job. Ryan mclaren is not the bowler Kallis was, let alone the batsman. They would be better off naming a real batsman in his place. It's gotta be four bowlers and 7 batters.

  • AussiePhoenix on February 17, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa lol spot on! Thanks for coming Hudson, you're a real pal. I love his statement "the team underperformed and it needs to pick up a gear". What, just the one? SA were driving around in first, Oz using a racing 6 speed, but we haven't reached top gear yet. SA will come at us harder, but pretty quickly they will feel the python's noose from our in form bowling unit. As predicted before the series; tactics, adapting on the field, and a team of workers, will defeat a group of #1 ranked players. Oz 2-0

  • SA_Scot on February 17, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    Let me be clear though, Robin Peterson is an exceptional cricketer and sportsman. In a sport that has billions of followers and millions of players, he is still amongst the best on the planet...he can spin and he can bat...In my Club Division premier league standard he'd be the strongest by a country mile!.

    The man has serious sporting talent.

  • SA_Scot on February 17, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    @Marc Wolmarans.

    Sweet team, I like it a lot. Struggling with my viewpoint on Hash Amla changing positions, purely because he's our number 3 and superb at it.... is it wise to move him.... Are top class batters not *zoned in* to their positions, mentally prepared for precisely the position they occupy. Even if Hash is effectively opening the innings these days, he's still *mentally * preparing to bat at 3.

    Could be a load of codswallop thinking on my part, but there may be something to it.... :-)

    That aside, De Kock in there at 7 with the Elgar\Duminy Spin combo has a nice ring to it....they will be *ok*, in combo they should do as well as Robbie I think.

    It then allows us to concentrate on our true bowling strengths...pace. As much as we wish we had an international class spinner ala Swann or Vetori (I exclude Murali and Ajmal, they're beyond international class), we just DO NOT.

    Why keep playing those spinners in the hope they will suddenly become brilliant...at that level.

  • creebo777 on February 17, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    Andrew hudson just prove why i dont like him as selector,why did he you pick mclaren and parnell in the first place,calls parnell inconsistent but still picks him in the squad and continue with robbiep? Not much to pick from the squad of 15 he selected

  • Vaughanographic on February 17, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    Tommytuckersaffa - I could not have said it better myself. The best resources to deal with this situation - Van Zyl, Hendricks (possibly Tahir, Harmer,Abbot, de Kock) are not in the squad. Peterson, Kleinveldt are not genuine test quality, Parnell is wayward, Mclaren isn't a test number 7 or top 4 bowler.

    I keep telling myself it would be great to suddenly see Stiaan Van Zyl and Hendricks sprung upon the aussies in place of Mclaren and Robbie P but I can't see it happening!!!

  • SurlyCynic on February 17, 2014, 16:01 GMT

    Can't believe what I'm reading. The selectors really are clueless.

    Is Peterson's 'spin' any better than Duminy's? Given Duminy is averaging low 30s with the bat over his career (and going down) he can only justify his place for his bowling option. If he and Elgar shared the spin duties I doubt it would be worse than Robbie P's efforts. If the pitch is a real turner then they need to start looking at other spinners from outside the squad.

    As for Kleinveldt remaining the backup seamer ahead of the likes of Beuran Hendricks and Abbott... the mind boggles. At least Parnell offers left arm pace and wicket taking ability and is a better batsman than Kleinveldt who is a joke of a selection.

    In most SA conditions I would replace Peterson with De Kock / Van Zyl / Elgar, use Duminy as the spin option, replace McLaren with Hendricks / Abbott / Parnell. If the pitch offers lots of turn which is rare in SA then bring in someone like Harmer or even Tahir - Robbie is a bits and pieces player.

  • ZCFOutkast on February 17, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    If they were going to bring in someone from outside then Bavuma&Tsotsobe would've been perfect picks: Smith, Amla, AB, Faf, Duminy(spinner), Alviro/Bavuma, Tsolekile(wk), Philander, Parnell, Steyn, Tsotsobe.

    As it stands I guess the only change will be Parnell for McLaren and Rory for RobbieP. After the whole denied fiasco of Smith fighting against Faf(who was poor in the lead up to that series) being dropped so Tsolekile can play against India, none of Alviro&JP will agree to be dropped, and rightfully so. For as long as embarassing Morne Morkel is not dropped I think even Philander can like him go 18 months picking up just 1 or 2 wickets and refuse to be dropped too. Hudson&CSA really dug themselves into a nice hole. But blame has to go to Smith!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 15:55 GMT

    Guys - read the article. Andrew Hudson - convener of selectors said. "It's unlikely we are going to bring someone in from outside," Hudson said...

    This means the replacement comes from within the squad. De Kock, Siaan van Zyl are not in the Squad so they cannot be selected for the starting 11.

    Australians will be laughing to themselves, this will be one of the easiest white-wash attempts they will ever have to make against the No.1 ranked team.

  • CodandChips on February 17, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    Surely De Kock rather than Duminy, Tahir over Petersen.

    SA miss Kallis' class with the bat.

    1.Smith 2.Petersen 3.Amla 4.De Villiers 5.Du Plessis 6.DeKock 7.Mclaren 8.Philander 9.Morkel 10.Steyn 11.Tahir

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    already smith felt the heat of having peterson in the 1st test...now hudson made clear whatever happens peterson is in the team...I dont know why selectors aare so particular for the under performing bowler..jp bowling is far better than peterson..

  • plabon on February 17, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    well if SA players can't cope with the pace of Johnson than it's a real shame coz they have finest pace battery (SA) & they have all the fast & bouncy wicket. so if they doesn't play well johnson than who can....??? & yes Peterson & Duminy should b dropped. de kock & merchant de lange should get chane or abbot.

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    I think Alviro Peterson is as much of a problem. If Amla is going to be coming in early why not have him open with Smith. He opens in all other forms. Could bring in Van Zyl or Elgar 3. I'd also like to see A B at 4 without the keeping responsibilities with de kok coming in as batsman keeper. Tsolikile would then still be backup keeper. Parnel for Mclaren as his angles could create a variation. Elgar and Duminy can do a roll with the spin, even faf can turn his arm over if required. Woukd also consider giving Morkel a break to sort his length out and have hendricks in. 3 left armers in a game would have nice footholes for jp. My 11

    Smith(c) Alma Elgar/Van Zyl Ab Faf Duminy De Kok(wk) Philander Parnell Steyn Morkel/Hendricks

  • siddhartha87 on February 17, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    time to debut De Kock as a specialist keeper at no 7

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    "It's unlikely we are going to bring someone in from outside," Hudson said...

    That means, no De Kock, No Abbott, No Hendricks, No Van Zyl. Elgar probably takes McLarens place at 7 and the worst spin bowler in International cricket gets a reprieve. And even worse, he will now operate as on of the 4 specialist bowlers.

    Australia 2-0.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 17, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    I still can't figure out why the selectors want to stick with a team with JP and Peterson in it. Does anybody have any idea? I really can't figure it out and for the life of me I'm trying my best.

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    I remember Andrew Hudson continually failing with the bat against Australia. More of the same from him as a selector.

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    Gotta be either Stiaan van Zyl or Albie Morkel

  • Kirstenfan on February 17, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    How did Robbie P get such a privileged role despite not being able to bowl 6 balls consistently in an over after 12 years of international cricket? It's mind boggling that he could still be considered for the team...heaven help us

  • Yevghenny on February 17, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    they need to figure out how to deal with mitchell johnson first. The bloke is on fire and almost unplayable at the moment

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  • Yevghenny on February 17, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    they need to figure out how to deal with mitchell johnson first. The bloke is on fire and almost unplayable at the moment

  • Kirstenfan on February 17, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    How did Robbie P get such a privileged role despite not being able to bowl 6 balls consistently in an over after 12 years of international cricket? It's mind boggling that he could still be considered for the team...heaven help us

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    Gotta be either Stiaan van Zyl or Albie Morkel

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    I remember Andrew Hudson continually failing with the bat against Australia. More of the same from him as a selector.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 17, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    I still can't figure out why the selectors want to stick with a team with JP and Peterson in it. Does anybody have any idea? I really can't figure it out and for the life of me I'm trying my best.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 17, 2014, 15:33 GMT

    "It's unlikely we are going to bring someone in from outside," Hudson said...

    That means, no De Kock, No Abbott, No Hendricks, No Van Zyl. Elgar probably takes McLarens place at 7 and the worst spin bowler in International cricket gets a reprieve. And even worse, he will now operate as on of the 4 specialist bowlers.

    Australia 2-0.

  • siddhartha87 on February 17, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    time to debut De Kock as a specialist keeper at no 7

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    I think Alviro Peterson is as much of a problem. If Amla is going to be coming in early why not have him open with Smith. He opens in all other forms. Could bring in Van Zyl or Elgar 3. I'd also like to see A B at 4 without the keeping responsibilities with de kok coming in as batsman keeper. Tsolikile would then still be backup keeper. Parnel for Mclaren as his angles could create a variation. Elgar and Duminy can do a roll with the spin, even faf can turn his arm over if required. Woukd also consider giving Morkel a break to sort his length out and have hendricks in. 3 left armers in a game would have nice footholes for jp. My 11

    Smith(c) Alma Elgar/Van Zyl Ab Faf Duminy De Kok(wk) Philander Parnell Steyn Morkel/Hendricks

  • plabon on February 17, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    well if SA players can't cope with the pace of Johnson than it's a real shame coz they have finest pace battery (SA) & they have all the fast & bouncy wicket. so if they doesn't play well johnson than who can....??? & yes Peterson & Duminy should b dropped. de kock & merchant de lange should get chane or abbot.

  • on February 17, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    already smith felt the heat of having peterson in the 1st test...now hudson made clear whatever happens peterson is in the team...I dont know why selectors aare so particular for the under performing bowler..jp bowling is far better than peterson..