South African Cricket: A glimpse into the future

The Reemergence of South African Cricket

The coronavirus pandemic has engulfed news and social media platforms over the last month. Sport has become irrelevant in that period. Before this pandemic, South Africa had whitewashed Australia 3-0 in an ODI series.  But players who had performed exceedingly well in that series were unable to build upon their good form – with the tour of India being postponed until a future date. In this article, I will be analyzing the best batting and best bowling prospect in South African Cricket.

South African Cricket Batsman

Janneman Malan

Janneman Malan could not have asked for a tougher start to his ODI career. A golden duck on debut – courtesy of an inswinging yorker from Mitchell Starc. But his temperament was outstanding in the second game. He defied the odds to score a fantastic century against a lethal bowling attack. He even batted until the end to see his side home. Too often players leave the job half-finished, putting unnecessary pressure on new batsmen. His 129 not out included glorious pull shots and more importantly strike rotation.

The ability to play fast bowling comfortably once established at the crease is a rare commodity. In conditions where pace dominates, Malan has the technique to score plenty of runs. The major flaw in his game is that he doesn’t often pick the variation from the leg spinners. This is no surprise due to the lack of quality spinners in South African domestic cricket- with Tahir and Shamsi often not playing for their franchises. Malan will need to work on his game versus spin before he can be an established player in all formats.

South African Cricket Bowler

Anrich Nortje

Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander have all recently retired from international cricket. For most other nations this would mean a thin reserve of fast bowlers. But South Africa have already discovered three new superstars to take over the mantle. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi are both well documented. Anrich Nortje completes the trio.

He has only played a handful of international games but showcased his talent very quickly in those outings. In only his third test, he rattled England’s middle order with hostile pace and bounce. He bowled very smartly, pinning both Stokes and Bairstow back on the crease with his short pitched bowling, before inducing a false shot with a much fuller delivery. It also helps that he bowls between 140 and 150 kph. This gives batsmen little time to adjust to changes in length. 

In limited overs cricket, he showed that he has an accurate yorker, coupled up with well-disguised slower balls. It is hugely beneficial to both him and South Africa that he has developed strong variations. This is because in limited overs it is relatively easy for players to accustom themselves to line and length bowling – with the two new Kookaburra balls limiting any movement that the bowler is able to get. This will allow South Africa to use him in all three formats – a trait is which uncommon in modern-day cricket.

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