Quality spinners in South Africa left in the lurch May 31, 2006

Donald laments drought of spinners

Cricinfo staff

Denying Nicky Boje a contract was not the right move, feels Donald © Getty Images

Allan Donald, the former South Africa fast bowler, expressed concern at the lack of quality spin bowlers in the country to compete at the international level. "I look around South Africa, and I'm not sure who there is at the moment," Donald told SuperCricket. "Spin is a huge problem in our country - I just don't know where we are going to find us a little wonderboy."

The South African selectors have traditionally persisted with pace, and with the recent successes of Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn and still untapped fast-bowling resources to count upon, the trend is bound to continue.

Since 1992, South Africa have fielded very few spinners, the most noteworthy among them being Pat Symcox, Paul Adams and Nicky Boje. Johan Botha, the offspinner who toured India last year, was rated highly by the selectors but his career suffered a jolt when he was called for a suspect bowling action in his Test debut at Sydney in January. The ICC subsequently banned him from bowling and suggested he take remedial measures.

Donald sympathised with Boje in particular, considering him extremely unlucky to be denied a contract by the South African board. He also outlined the importance of Boje in South Africa's World Cup plans next year.

"The message that the management of the South African team is sending to Boje is not a confident one," Donald said. "They still haven't given him a contract, which can only mean, 'Listen, you're not in our plans'. That's really disappointing. Boje has to be the spinner for the World Cup, there's no question in my mind. He just needs the backing and the support from management, they need to tell him he's our man."

Donald also lamented the treatment meted out to Adams, the slow left-arm chinaman bowler, with the best Test record (45 Tests, 134 wickets) than any other South African spinner since South Africa's readmission to international cricket in 1992.

"Pat Symcox nailed it on the head the other day when he said Paul Adams has been left in the lurch," Donald said. "He's not even playing for his province, no-one's working with him, his confidence is shot. That might well be the end of his career, and that's also very disappointing."