South Africa news December 13, 2013

South Africa's ODI drought 'not ideal'

42

When South Africa next play ODI cricket, the country could have a new president, another IPL season will be complete, and winter will be on its way out. Their next 50-over assignment, according to the FTP, is in July - seven months away. With the focus on Test and Twenty20 cricket, ahead of the 2014 World T20, there is a danger that the gains AB de Villiers' ODI side has made over the last six weeks will be lost, affecting their build-up to the 2015 World Cup.

The tournament in Australia and New Zealand is in 15 months and South Africa's long break from ODI cricket is "absolutely not ideal," former players Shaun Pollock, Herschelle Gibbs and Boeta Dippenaar told ESPNcricinfo. They agreed that South Africa need to play more one-dayers to build on their recent impressive performance, which could shape their World Cup strategy, and have asked the national board to look at ways to schedule more one-dayers at home.

If the present schedule were adhered to, Dippenaar said, none of the players would have enough games - and not enough, according to Pollock, against good enough opposition. The series in July is in Zimbabwe and it is far from guaranteed because Zimbabwe Cricket is suffering from financial problems, which forced it to postpone a visit by Sri Lanka this year. Should that series be put off, South Africa's next scheduled ODIs are only in November 2014, five matches in Australia. Following that tour, South Africa will host West Indies for five more ODIs before the World Cup.

Cricket South Africa had displayed its proactivity by organising a last-minute home series against Pakistan to fill the gap in the season caused by the shortening of India's visit. "The amount of ODI cricket needs to go up when you're preparing for a World Cup. Its like a marathon runner who increased the distance every week in training before tapering off just before the race," Dippenaar said. "The pace and bounce of our pitches are similar to Australian wickets so it would be a good place to practice. I'd invite a team like England or New Zealand - they are scrappers so it would be good to play them, or even Sri Lanka.

"If that doesn't work then I'd say they should play three exhibition matches in South Africa. A best versus the rest, or something like that. They absolutely have to play something else before the World Cup."

While Dippenaar was adamant about adding to the schedule, Gibbs said that as long as South Africa were playing "some form of cricket against someone," they would benefit. De Villiers wasn't too concerned either.

"If we didn't win a series I would be very worried but now that we have, I feel we will get back into it again," de Villiers said. "It is a long time but when you finish things on a good note, you can pick it up again. The guys are doing well together, they seem to enjoy each others successes so I feel we will pick things up straight again in July."

Whether South Africa do so will have a significant impact on their chances of ending a poor run in ICC tournaments. After they crashed out of the 2011 World Cup, one-day cricket took a back seat as South Africa strived to become the No. 1 Test side. A result of that neglect was a poor showing at the 2013 Champions Trophy and in Sri Lanka, two tours that exposed how much South Africa's batting hadregressed.

In the past six weeks, however, South Africa have smoothened out those wrinkles. They won two series out of three, one in the UAE against Pakistan and the other at home against India, the top-ranked ODI side. They had seven wins in 11 matches across the three series but the win-loss record did not highlight the numbers that mattered to de Villiers. South Africa's batsmen are showing more "care," he said, for partnerships.

In eight ODIs during the Champions Trophy and the tour of Sri Lanka, South Africa had only two century stands and eight half-century partnerships. In the next three series, they had five century stands and 13half-century partnerships. Their bowling was always impressive and now their batting has caught up. According to Pollock, South Africa have "probably settled on the 16 names they will take to the 2015 World Cup."

Whether they will be able to pick up where they left off is the question. "A break can be a dangerous thing when you are in good form," Dippenaar said, making a reference to the performance of the Test team after a seven-month break earlier this year. "The only reason they lost that first Test against Pakistan in Dubai is because they were rusty. It showed that when you're playing well, you need keep playing, so you can build on the things you do well to help you when you are struggling a bit."

Dippenaar stressed the concern was over younger players, like Quinton de Kock and David Miller, who are just starting to carve a niche for themselves and will now have that process interrupted. "Quinton needs to play as much as possible," he said.

Gibbs also said de Kock must be given opportunity to gain as much experience as possible. He believed the youngster will keep Graeme Smith out of World Cup contention. "I can't see Graeme forcing his way back now," Gibbs said. "So Quinton needs to play."

So does the person who may need to step in for Jacques Kallis, who should use the next seven months to make a firm decision about his ODI future, according to Pollock, Gibbs and Dippenaar. They seemed to be sayingthat Kallis may have to accept that the 2015 World Cup could be a bridge too far. "It will give Jacques the time to decide if he wants to continue," Pollock said.

Dippenaar was of the opinion that it may not be up to Kallis to make a decision. "There is the real question that he may not make it to the World Cup and then it's going to be tough on whoever has to replace him, because that person won't have enough games," Dippenaar said. Unless CSA step in and do something about the schedule.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 15, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    FTP has many gaps during that period. Pakistan will also be free for some months. SL as well. I agree with the idea of a Triangular series of SL,SA,Pak in SA, and the quality of bowling gives these team good practice.

  • Kingman75 on December 15, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    South Africa needs to act like a number one in their entire scheduling. Forget the pissy two test series, demand three. Play more four or five test series. Forget the ODIs. If they want to make money, just play more of the T20s.

  • on December 15, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    I think that if picked on merit a SA 2nd 11 may beat the current side in a 3 match series.

  • Jeeves_ on December 15, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    It's time for move on from Kallis. He's been disappointing in too many World Cups, and hardly a sign he's going to turn into a match winner at 40. His reflexes have slowed down and his recent test form has been poor. He can probably still hang on as a test player for another season, but needs to play himself on for a longer time and not give his wicket away.

  • on December 15, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    I think SA , SL and PAK tri series will be the finest option SL and PAK have a great track record against SA in SA. Moreover SL and PAK have the finest bowlers in the world that SA can play against. Practicing with the likes of MALINGA, AJMAL , AFRIDI will give them the required amount of practice with both pace and spin. On the other hand SL and PAK can have a better amount of practice in FAST and BOUNCY tracks. So they can somewhat be prepared for the worldcup quite confidently.

  • on December 15, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    Chokers what will they do even if play tournaments and prepare.Leave it guys .It does not matter.

  • on December 15, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    In the context of recent form that South Africa has just pulled up, It is advisable to give a good time to ODIs as well. Moreover, players like Quinton De Kock can lose their touch if kept away from the game for a long time. Normally countries try to capitalize on their form to gain confidence and make the best use of it by exploiting and understanding the weaknesses of other sides. Therefore, it will be more logical if the country doesn't push it away at such crucial time.

  • on December 15, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    SA if nothing else can spent a bit of money and arrange games with sides like Kenya, irland, Scotland, Afghanistan etc for match practice. Iron out team make-up et. I think other teams with scheduling gaps may also be available.

  • on December 15, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    india is world champ in india not in south africa. we have seen this in last odi series. i think they could invite BD and pak to play a tri series there. BCB can request SA for that too.

  • PAK_CricFan on December 14, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    if CSA agrees to Shuan, Gibbs & Bota view then i think PAK team is free in that slot and an ODI series of SA vs PAK on fast & bouncy tracks of SA can help both teams a great deal in preparing for WC2015 as both got quality bowling attacks which should test & allow all batsmen to be at their best.

  • on December 15, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    FTP has many gaps during that period. Pakistan will also be free for some months. SL as well. I agree with the idea of a Triangular series of SL,SA,Pak in SA, and the quality of bowling gives these team good practice.

  • Kingman75 on December 15, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    South Africa needs to act like a number one in their entire scheduling. Forget the pissy two test series, demand three. Play more four or five test series. Forget the ODIs. If they want to make money, just play more of the T20s.

  • on December 15, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    I think that if picked on merit a SA 2nd 11 may beat the current side in a 3 match series.

  • Jeeves_ on December 15, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    It's time for move on from Kallis. He's been disappointing in too many World Cups, and hardly a sign he's going to turn into a match winner at 40. His reflexes have slowed down and his recent test form has been poor. He can probably still hang on as a test player for another season, but needs to play himself on for a longer time and not give his wicket away.

  • on December 15, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    I think SA , SL and PAK tri series will be the finest option SL and PAK have a great track record against SA in SA. Moreover SL and PAK have the finest bowlers in the world that SA can play against. Practicing with the likes of MALINGA, AJMAL , AFRIDI will give them the required amount of practice with both pace and spin. On the other hand SL and PAK can have a better amount of practice in FAST and BOUNCY tracks. So they can somewhat be prepared for the worldcup quite confidently.

  • on December 15, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    Chokers what will they do even if play tournaments and prepare.Leave it guys .It does not matter.

  • on December 15, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    In the context of recent form that South Africa has just pulled up, It is advisable to give a good time to ODIs as well. Moreover, players like Quinton De Kock can lose their touch if kept away from the game for a long time. Normally countries try to capitalize on their form to gain confidence and make the best use of it by exploiting and understanding the weaknesses of other sides. Therefore, it will be more logical if the country doesn't push it away at such crucial time.

  • on December 15, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    SA if nothing else can spent a bit of money and arrange games with sides like Kenya, irland, Scotland, Afghanistan etc for match practice. Iron out team make-up et. I think other teams with scheduling gaps may also be available.

  • on December 15, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    india is world champ in india not in south africa. we have seen this in last odi series. i think they could invite BD and pak to play a tri series there. BCB can request SA for that too.

  • PAK_CricFan on December 14, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    if CSA agrees to Shuan, Gibbs & Bota view then i think PAK team is free in that slot and an ODI series of SA vs PAK on fast & bouncy tracks of SA can help both teams a great deal in preparing for WC2015 as both got quality bowling attacks which should test & allow all batsmen to be at their best.

  • on December 14, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    Pakistan and SL's record in tournaments are better than SA's. They both have won the ICC World Cup. They both have tendency to reach the finals and win. Look what Pakistan recently did to SA in their own backyard. SA could hardly mange to reach 200 mark in all the ODI and even in UAE, had not Pakistan throw the 1st game SA would find themselves in pressure and C factor would have played its tole...its all about C for SA. Pakistan has the best bowling attack in the world these days. They beat Indian in India and India barely scored 200 against them and it was the same Indian team which scored 300+ runs against Australia.

  • on December 14, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    indian needs to bring back sachin and play a few series with kenya, zim, bang to restore confidence of indian public.

  • CricIndia208 on December 14, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    India are the world champions and the winners of the champions trophy. If SA want to play the best team, they need to tour India. India did not have sufficient time to acclimatise, had this been a five match series, India would have won it 3-2.

  • SurlyCynic on December 14, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    I'm surprised at how many India comments here are so interested in SA's schedule for 2014. If SA have no chance in 2015 then shouldn't you rather be worrying about your own team? Maybe pay some attention to your batsmen surviving on bouncy tracks?

  • soumyas on December 14, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Anyway, they will not win 2015 ODI World Cup, so please forget about their ODI schedule.

  • on December 14, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    Bangladesh have a relatively free schedule for 2014, would be a good opportunity for them to sharpen and up and test their newly acquired odi skills against south africa. perhaps 3 odi matches and a t20 would be a good series to have constructed in rsa's schedule.

  • on December 14, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    Nobody complained about South Africa's ridiculously less Test cricket in 2011 and this year, yet everyone's grumpy about fewer ODIs.

  • Blade-Runner on December 14, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    A tri-series - South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. That would be the one to watch if it is organized. Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have done so well in South Africa and it would be a real opportunity for South Africans to test their strength by playing against 2 of the best ODI sides in the world.

  • Warm_Coffee on December 14, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Tri series i.e. SA, Pakistan and Bangladesh could be good since both teams are free around that time.

  • Harmony111 on December 14, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    Why are they so much worried about SA's preparation for the WC in 2015? Howsoever they may prepare we all know what is going to happen to SA in the WC. Sooner or later there they are going to shows us what they think C stands for. It is one thing to score 100s vs poor bowling in Home conditions on really small grounds and it is quite another to score runs in more meaningful situations.

  • Hunters77 on December 14, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Am terribly dissapointed with the lack of cricket in S.A. As a boy we watched cricket the Benson & Hedges domestic league rocked the first official tours of S.A was brilliant and what was best is the television coverage. All had their heroes Allan Donald, Hansie Cronje, Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Sastri, Ian Botham etc we were so privillaged to watch those matche and the popularity of cricket grew. Now less matches are being played and most of the television coverage goes to Supersport who charges an arm and a leg to view. Thanks CSA and Supersport for dropping viewership of the game. This Indian tour should have never taken place SA should have brought a team down that was prepared to dig in for a long series over the holidays isnt this the time to fill the stadiums make money?? Even Bangladesh or Ireland/Afganistan would have made a better tour. BCCI should go back to India sort out their issues then toured next year. CSA its not to late to arrange another series.

  • on December 14, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Arrange a Tri-series featuring South Africa , Sri Lanka and Pakistan two rounds and with Three finals. That will give enough matches for all team specially SA and SL. Bcoz there is a feeling that SA and SL will qualify for the finals and in the scenario of a three match final it would be like another ODI series in the name of FINALS. How is this for a thought? But I doubt whether SL and PAK have enough time in between.

  • stormy16 on December 14, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    SA doesn't play enough cricket period. As the best test side in the world they play much less tests than .others and the same applies to limited over cricket. May be its a good thing as they hardly ever struggle with injuries compared to other teams. Eng would be a good option to practice ahead of the WC or even NZ where else a team like SL could struggle in SA conditions but would welcome the opportunity ahead of the WC

  • on December 14, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    One type of game to spice up the contest. CAPE COBRAS v THE REST. Two games in Cape Town followed by One each in PE, Durbs, Joburg & Supersport Park. At least this type of game will be competitive. CAPE COBRAS .....Smith, Amla, Van Zyl, Kallis, Duminy, Ontong,Vilas,Peterson,Steyn, Philander Kleinveldt. THE REST........... De Kock,Van Wyk, Elgar,De Villiers,Du Plessis,Miller, McLaren, ..........................A.Morkel, Abbott, M.Morkel Phangiso.(Ingram Harmer in PE) Davids (at Supersport) McKenzie (At Wanderers)

  • on December 14, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    De kock befor this series his ranking 75th odi betsman and after this series his ranking 14 odi betsman what a player...

  • sloan on December 14, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    Cricket Ireland contact Adi Birrell ex Irish coach and organise a tri-series between Ireland, South Africa and South Africa A. Or another test team. Please Please Please Cheers Carl Ps Ireland champions t20 , ODI and First class level in 2013 worthy opponents, just ask Pakistan, England who they played in the last summer.

  • on December 14, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    give chances to players like Rossuw,Hendricks,Obus pienaar,jean symes they will show case there talent

  • Lion83 on December 14, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    Should arrange a 5 match series against Sri Lanka it will be a good contest for both teams unlike India, SL have a better record in SA

  • on December 13, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    They should continue playing pakistan, it was a good competition

  • boomslanger on December 13, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    As much as India's performance in SA was a fiasco and a comedy of errors, SA congratulating and patting each other on their "famous"victory over a bunch of bewildered young kids led astray by their enigmatic coach is equally comical. If SA prepares itself on the basis of this win and play SA-A team against SA-B team (or whatever they might call each other) by way of preparation for the ICC WC, they are likely to be one of the first teams to get back home, even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (and the associate members) are trying harder. India's No1 ODI status not withstanding. Like, who thinks India played anywhere near their potential?

  • Captainman on December 13, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    Invite Bangladesh. Its been ages since both these teams played eachother in a series and Bangladesh doing exceptionally well in ODIs since 2012 so close to winning the Asia Cup beating the likes of India and Sri Lanka and drawing against Sri Lanka away and beating West Indies and New Zealand in ODI series with their best play missing.

  • on December 13, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    @sysubrceq0 How is the scheduling the fault of CSA as much as the BCCI? They originally wanted to host India for 7 ODIs. I cannot wait to see your response, because I have a feeling it will reflect the shabby reasoning of the BCCI themselves.

  • ThyrSaadam on December 13, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    You can practice all you want, but when the crunch time is on, we all know what usually happens to SA.....

  • Unomaas on December 13, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    Totally agree with SurlyCynic. First step should be to organise domestic exhibition games (maybe three 50 over games). I would get Smith + Kallis + Steyn to lead a team of SA fringe players and then lay down the gauntlet to them telling them that the person that performs, will get a ticket to WC 2015.

    I have no problem with playing Ireland, Afghanistan, Zim. The most important thing is to maintain momentum in our ODI team. CSA also needs to build future relations with Ireland + Afghanistan. In the future, Afghanistan will become a world cricketing power them together with Pakistan, will become a power broker in world cricket.

  • sysubrceq0 on December 13, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    @Bharat - its very lame on your part to point BCCI on scheduling fiasco. CSA also to be blamed as much as BCCI in the fiasco.

  • on December 13, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    @SurlyCynic cant agree with you more.May be a triseries against Zim and Ireland.Get in players like Stephen Cook and Van Zyl who are heavy domestic scorers and give them a taste of Int cricket.

  • Warm_Coffee on December 13, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Invite the likes of Ireland and Bangladesh even if you think it will be a bit too easy you can rest players and try out new players against them and have a wider range of choices for the world cup. The sport needs to spread otherwise very few countries will play Cricket in the future which will be bad for the game.

  • SurlyCynic on December 13, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    If they need to play ODIs and can't arrange a tour by a top team, why use domestic exhibition games as mentioned in the article? Why not show support for newer cricket nations and invite the likes of Afghanistan and Ireland? Yes, they might not be as challenging as Pakistan or Australia but they are improving and surely better than playing SA 'B' team?

  • Kappa69 on December 13, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    True enough. When ur winnig games u need to play more games. Until 2014 july is too far. England should be called to SA

  • on December 13, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    CSA has realized no matter what input we give this team will not qualify for WC 2015 Final so good option for them to look into Test and T20

  • on December 13, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    After their series against India,which ends on dec 30, SA play AUS from feb 12.So may be they can schedule an ODI series in Jan.Also due to the BCCI fiasco,many of the smaller venues lost hosting a match.So may be a series in Jan may help.

  • on December 13, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Sure tht gap can be filled, they can play against Pakistan.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 13, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Sure tht gap can be filled, they can play against Pakistan.

  • on December 13, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    After their series against India,which ends on dec 30, SA play AUS from feb 12.So may be they can schedule an ODI series in Jan.Also due to the BCCI fiasco,many of the smaller venues lost hosting a match.So may be a series in Jan may help.

  • on December 13, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    CSA has realized no matter what input we give this team will not qualify for WC 2015 Final so good option for them to look into Test and T20

  • Kappa69 on December 13, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    True enough. When ur winnig games u need to play more games. Until 2014 july is too far. England should be called to SA

  • SurlyCynic on December 13, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    If they need to play ODIs and can't arrange a tour by a top team, why use domestic exhibition games as mentioned in the article? Why not show support for newer cricket nations and invite the likes of Afghanistan and Ireland? Yes, they might not be as challenging as Pakistan or Australia but they are improving and surely better than playing SA 'B' team?

  • Warm_Coffee on December 13, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Invite the likes of Ireland and Bangladesh even if you think it will be a bit too easy you can rest players and try out new players against them and have a wider range of choices for the world cup. The sport needs to spread otherwise very few countries will play Cricket in the future which will be bad for the game.

  • on December 13, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    @SurlyCynic cant agree with you more.May be a triseries against Zim and Ireland.Get in players like Stephen Cook and Van Zyl who are heavy domestic scorers and give them a taste of Int cricket.

  • sysubrceq0 on December 13, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    @Bharat - its very lame on your part to point BCCI on scheduling fiasco. CSA also to be blamed as much as BCCI in the fiasco.

  • Unomaas on December 13, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    Totally agree with SurlyCynic. First step should be to organise domestic exhibition games (maybe three 50 over games). I would get Smith + Kallis + Steyn to lead a team of SA fringe players and then lay down the gauntlet to them telling them that the person that performs, will get a ticket to WC 2015.

    I have no problem with playing Ireland, Afghanistan, Zim. The most important thing is to maintain momentum in our ODI team. CSA also needs to build future relations with Ireland + Afghanistan. In the future, Afghanistan will become a world cricketing power them together with Pakistan, will become a power broker in world cricket.

  • ThyrSaadam on December 13, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    You can practice all you want, but when the crunch time is on, we all know what usually happens to SA.....