South Africa’s bowling unit is getting better, says bowling coach Charl Langeveldt, but there is still room for some “out of the box” thinking with the departure for the World T20 in India just days away.
It has been pleasing to see a change in attitude towards “death bowling” since Langeveldt joined the Proteas camp towards the end of the home West Indies series last season.
Although Langeveldt was also taken along with Allan Donald to the 2015 World Cup in Australasia as a consultant, that tournament was still too early for the wily 41-year-old’s expertise to have full effect on the Proteas bowling unit.
Since he has taken over from Donald on a full-time basis, though, it has been encouraging to watch the bowlers seize the moment and individuals begin to relish being tossed the ball at “squeaky bum time”. This composed approach, in addition to some “up-skilling” under Langeveldt’s educated watch, has resulted in eight victories from 10 T20 Internationals for the Proteas.
And despite the hugely impressive Kagiso Rabada not coming out on the right side of a thrilling last over at the Wanderers on Sunday, Langeveldt does believe his charges are heading in the right direction.
“There were lots of ‘ifs and buts’ (in Johannesburg) and if you want to win the World Cup, then you have to win those types of games. We unfortunately did not pull it through,” Langeveldt told the media at a city hotel yesterday.
“However, I think our skill has improved from where we were before. That was our main focus over the last year, maybe year-and-a-half. (Anyone) can bowl at the death, (to not make us) predictable. If you asked Dale he would have been able to. I would like to see us become more adaptable to (different) surfaces going forward, though. If we want to become a championship team, then you need to adapt to different surfaces.”
The Wanderers pitch resembled a billiard table that certainly made batting ridiculously easily for Australia’s dynamic duo Glenn Maxwell and David Warner. Newlands is unlikely to serve up a replica in the series decider tomorrow, but Langeveldt is concerned that David Wiese and Imran Tahir conceded 105 runs in their allotted eight overs in Joburg.
It was a rare off-day for Tahir, and the leg-spinner is bound to bounce back, but when conditions don’t suit Wiese, and Chris Morris too, then South Africa could find themselves with their backs against the wall if a policy of a five-man attack is strictly adhered too.
So captain Faf Du Plessis must look at his options. JP Duminy was deemed good enough to open the bowling when South Africa played in the World T20 semi-final two years ago in Dhaka, and although there’s no doubt that the off-spinner has lacked the fizz that earned him his “golden arm” tag, the situation needs to be rectified.
The importance of a sixth – even seventh – bowler on the sub-continent, to offer some relief, is crucial to attaining success and Du Plessis needs to build Duminy’s confidence before the plane leaves for Mumbai on Thursday.
“You want a JP to bowl you one or two overs,” Langeveldt explained. “That’s the ideal situation, especially in the sub-continent, because of the conditions. Even if it’s just an over to mix it up, especially when you have one or two bowlers under the pump.
“I think we sometimes just need to think out of the box. The thing is, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The previous game Faf bowled JP… it’s all trial and error.
“We just have to bowl them in these games sometimes to build confidence. Everything in T20 cricket is about confidence. A guy like JP is a talent, he can take wickets. He is a partnership breaker. Confidence is a big thing in T20 cricket. We need to get JP in the mode where he can at least bowl two overs…”
Tomorrow is South Africa’s final official T20 International – there are two warm-ups in India – before they meet England in the cauldron of the Wankhede Stadium on Friday, March 18. There will hopefully be a chance for Duminy to turn his arm over, but also some game time for Hashim Amla and Kyle Abbott at Newlands.
The latter pair has played no small part in South Africa’s recent T20 success. After the initial circumspection with regard to whether Amla could adapt his game to the demands of T20 cricket, the former Test captain has made significant contributions (48 against New Zealand in Durban, 36 off 24 balls against India in Dharamsala and a whirlwind 69 not out off just 38 balls against England at the Wanderers) to aid important victories over the last year. – Cape Times
Source – iol