Ryan McLaren out due to brain rattle

Ryan McLaren successfully pulls the bat from the stone

Ordinarily we don’t report on injuries – and not just because we don’t report on anything in any meaningful sense. However, Ryan McLaren’s rattled brain is more significant in that it will shine a light on the impact Mitchell Johnson has had on the South Africans.

We’re not talking about the physical impact. McLaren has mild concussion after unwittingly nodding a bouncer into the back of some imaginary net, so the physical impact is obvious. We’re talking about the impact Johnson has had on the home team’s approach.

“We feel we need to strengthen the…”

McLaren’s selection gave South Africa a fourth seam bowler and a middling batsman. In a sense, he gave them neither one thing nor the other – although that’s harsh because he’s a good, if unremarkable player. However, in replacing him, they will need to choose which side to land when dropping down off the fence.

Option one is to go for Wayne Parnell. Parnell’s being talked up as an all-rounder these days, but he’s the kind of all-rounder who’s good for a few on a flat one-day pitch. In short, he’s exactly the sort of all-rounder who’s an out-and-out bowler when Mitchell Johnson’s involved. However, it’s being reported that he’s been bowling at over 150km/h (93mph) this season, so he’d give them something with the ball.

Option two would be to pick another batsman. South Africa have long had a reputation for reverting to conservatism when threatened, shortening their tail however they can. This has seemed unfair in recent years when Imran Tahir has been given a fair few matches when he could long ago have been discarded for being a liability. But with the pressure on, will they revert to type?

In summary

We’re not saying that either option is the right one because, on the evidence of the first Test, there is no right answer. It’ll just be interesting to see how South Africa go about putting together their jigsaw now that they’ve accepted that the big Kallis-shaped piece won’t ever be recovered from down the back of the sofa.

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18 Appeals

  1. Those Kallis-less Saffers, they’d have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for that pesky Mitch.

  2. Always nice when you realise an international player had a spell with Kent, and there will be a picture available courtesy of Sarah. Top hover captioning, too.

  3. Just seen Brendon McCullum’s middle name. You don’t get many babies with that middle name these days. http://www.espncricinfo.com/newzealand/content/player/37737.html

    • Indeed, it is a Peter Pan style Barrie, rather than, for example, Barry the plumber who used to live at number 38.

  4. Unless they have a bowler who is consistently delivering mid 150km/hr who can accurately aim at the stumps or body then the best bet is to go with an extra batsman. Preferably one unafraid of the short ball.

  5. Jigsaw puzzles are hard at the best of times. It doesn’t help when you’re missing a giant Kallis-shaped piece and some murderous Aussie is continuously hurling cricket balls at your head.

  6. In other news, I have just seen that Afghanistan U19s have thrashed Namibia U19s.

    Getting out my slide rule, that means that the Aussie U19s need to roll Bangle U19s for about 175, otherwise they will be eliminated even if they win.

    It doesn’t look as though they are going to make it:


    What a pity.

  7. In other, under 19 news, I was very disappointed looking at the scorecard for the India v PNG match to see an array of rather ordinary looking names for the PNG players.

    I would expect more than this of Papua New Guinea. No wonder they are being thrashed.

    But my question of the day – popped into my head and now won’t go away – do PNG players wear gourds rather than boxes? What a shame I am away from the TV and can’t see for myself.

  8. in other other news… great result for ireland, but that west indian scorecard really doesn’t bear close inspection. yikes.

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