Having looked at the Definites and the Probables for the Proteas World Cup squad, it’s time to analyse the Possibles and the Old Brown Dogs.
Click here for 11 down, 4 to go: Part I
These are the players not in the current ODI squad to New Zealand that still have a shot at making the World Cup final 15. They’ve all played for the Proteas before and could well do so with the help of some good performances of their own and a few shockers from the incumbents. Imagine an ex of yours gets engaged, then they have a fall out with their fiancé a few months before the wedding, meaning you’re still in with a shot…that’s the boat these blokes are in.
Possibles: Farhaan Behardien, Marchant de Lange, Cameron Delport, Beuran Hendricks, Colin Ingram, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Mthokozisi Shezi, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Stiaan van Zyl.
Batting wise, Behardien, Ingram, Ontong and Van Zyl are competing with Miller and Rossouw. Behardien and Ontong seem best suited to compete with Miller for the number six spot in the starting XI, whilst Ingram and Van Zyl seem likely to fight it out with Rossouw for the backup position.
Behardien and Ontong are kings of the domestic circuit; seasoned performers with solid records. Neither have really made it at the top level yet despite a few opportunities, but both players are coming into good form at the right time in the Momentum One Day Cup and could well get another look in.
Van Zyl was recently called up to the Test team and is highly thought of by many as he has been one of the premier batsmen locally. However, his chances of making the ODI side are somewhat slim. Ingram has been hard done by in my very humble opinion. The Warriors skipper recently lost his national contract and has answered it fairly emphatically thus far with centuries in both the one day and four day competitions. His ODI figures make for some interesting reading: 31 matches, 843 runs, 3x100s, 3x50s and an average of 32. His stats are worsened by a stint as an opener in the Champions Trophy last year (not his natural position) although at his preferred positions of number 3 (528 runs at 37.7) and number 4 (105 runs at 105) he has done quite well. To me he is a very suitable option to have in the squad as an injury or loss of form to one of Amla, De Kock, Du Plessis, De Villiers or Duminy will see Ingram slot in rather seamlessly.
Cameron Delport is an opening batsman, but his explosive style lends itself to any position in the batting order. With the Top 5 so well sealed, he could well slide in the back door as the lower-middle order power hitter. He is very much an emerging talent on the scene and I have touted the man with legavaan arms to have a big 2014/2015 season.
In the bowling department, the Philanthropist and Abbott will come under threat from Marchant de Lange, Beuran Hendricks, Mthokozisi Shezi and Lonwabo Tsotsobe. I’ve left young Kagiso Rabada off the list as I don’t think he’s quite there yet. Tsotsobe has just returned from injury and is back to his best, leading the wicket takers list in the Momentum One Day Cup*. I am pretty certain he will head to the World Cup. Hendricks has been unlucky with injury which in turn opened the door for Shezi. I think the plans for Shezi are more long term and Hendricks’ lack of game time before the World Cup will count against him. De Lange is the real x-factor. He has raw pace and might get a look in based on this. If Morkel or Steyn become unavailable to injury, it would make sense to have De Lange in your squad as the backup enforcer of the attack.
Another interesting point of contention will centre around Chris Morris. The Lions paceman has spent a large part of the past year on the physio table, but the powers that be are well aware of his talents having already used him in the Champions Trophy. His batting capabilities will allow him to compete with Philander and even Parnell for the first-change seamer position. Morris bowls with serious gas and hits them Bubba-long, the big question will linger around his fitness and match practice.
Spinning wise the doors are pretty closed with Tahir and Phangiso having put their hands up already. This means that the likes of Simon Harmer, Dane Piedt and Roelof van der Merwe will have to continue grinding it out with more of a long term focus on their national aspirations.
Old Brown Dogs?
These old brown dogs may have ages higher than their batting averages, but they still showing that they have the goods. Often when a youngster shows promise (like Quinton de Kock) people ask if it’s too soon to send them in. To which they usually get an answer of “if he’s good enough, he’s old enough”. What if the same applies for being too old and too good?
Old Brown Dogs: Neil McKenzie, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Andrew Puttick , Jacques Rudolph, Morne van Wyk.
Ontong’s age could have had him on this list, but I see his chances as more realistic than these geysers. Morne van Wyk has been in sensational touch in List A format with two big hundreds to his name already this season. The same applies for Neil McKenzie and Andrew Puttick who have also been churning out lots of runs in the Momentum One Day Cup. Alviro is part of the Test side, but seems unlikely to get the ODI call again. Rudolph has made his intentions clear that he would like to play at the World Cup and was the top run scorer in the Royal London One-Day Cup in England recently. Robbie P lost his spot to Tahir in Pakistan last year and Phangiso’s emergence means he is unlikely to go despite some strong showings domestically.
That said, Victor Matfield is older than the aforementioned players as is Misbah Ul-Haq. You can buy chips and a coke, but will Andrew Hudson and Russell Domingo be willing to buy a zimmer frame?
My World Cup squad:
Right, so where do we stand after that mouthful? Based on my own selections as well as my expectations of what the selectors will go with, this is the squad I think will snap the chokers tag off and chuck it into the Tasman sea.
Kill’s Corner World Cup squad: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
*Stats correct as of 20 October 2014