South Africa don’t really get spin bowling

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Do you see what happens, Larry? Do you see what happens? This is what happens. This is what happens when you pick an all-pace attack.

Always pick a spinner. No matter how good your fast bowlers are, if the batsmen get into a rhythm, you can find yourself on the receiving end of a very big partnership. Ed Cowan and Michael Clarke developed rhythm rivalling Sly and the Family Stone in the first Test against South Africa. The former’s far from keen on giving his wicket away and the latter’s recently developed a habit of scoring at least 200 once he’s passed three figures. South Africa were therefore sentenced to a great many overs of seam.

Variety is a necessity. The only variety South Africa had was fast bowling in the morning and fast-medium in the afternoon, because big partnerships reduce even the fittest fast bowler to the pace of Rory Kleinveldt eventually.

Speaking of Rory Kleinveldt – he’s the one playing instead of a spinner. He has 0-81 off 17 overs and can probably claim to be the fifth best right-arm seam bowler in this South Africa team. Only South Africa could conclude that they really needed to get Rory Kleinveldt into the team, even if it meant a five right-arm seam bowler scenario.

South Africa don’t really get spin. They see people bowling slowly and wonder why that person isn’t spending their time eating gazelles and trying to bowl as fast as they can. Well, there’s an easy answer to that – it’s because this is what happens. This is what happens when you pick an all-pace attack.


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  1. Graeme Smith as a spin option. It’s almost enough to make you go and watch an hour of YouTube videos of Warne even though you’ve got an essay due in at 4pm.

    Sod it, I might just do it anyway.

  2. one thing of concern is the chAnging nature of pitch at the used to be arguably the best wicket in the world giving equAl oppurtunity to pace,spin and bat and always a result wicket.

  3. “I think the idea was right especially against Hashim Amla as he is an Indian and usually the Asians are not well-known for playing short deliveries well but after Amla survived the first session of the play it was no more difficult for him as he adjusted himself according to the situation beautifully and that’s the class of Amla he adjusts himself according to the match.”

    That was livescore’s comment in the last thread – I wanted to copy-paste it here lest it goes unnoticed there. This does not deserve to go unnoticed.

    1. And there was me thinking that Hashim Amla is a South African of Southern Asian origin. But no, apparently Amla is an Indian.

      Daisy tends to ignore this distinction too, which is sad really. And irritating, as she should know better.

      Whereas I think livescore might be misclassifying for effect. Like, post-modernism or something.

      Meanwhile,no-one on this thread seems to have considered the point that Jean-Paul Duminy might have been the team’s pick for spinner in this match. Perhaps not front-line enough for you, KC, but more than “a batsman who bowls a bit of spin” IMHO.

    2. Duminy is a reasonable spin bowler, but if you have four right-arm seam bowlers in your team and you’re picking a fifth bowler, you shouldn’t go for yet another right-arm seam bowler.

    3. Don’t get me wrong, folks. I agree with KC that the Saffers got the selection wrong here. But I think the team selection brain scramble was born of the feeling that JPD is kind-of a spinner.

      Kleinvelt was a strange selection for the tour IMHO, let alone for this match. With Adelaide next, surely the “we can afford the luxury of an extra bowler” slot belonged to Tahir.


    4. Don’t forget that Kallis wasn’t 100% fit at the start of the match so the thought was that Kleinveldt was the FOURTH seam bowler, with Duminy as the spinner.
      With Kallis fit and Duminy injured it does look somewhat unbalanced. If I was in charge of South Africa I would be flying over a replacement seamer as well as a… whatever Duminy is as cover.
      When I look at Kleinveldt I see Merv Hughes. Aside from the obvious girth comparisons, Merv returned 1-123 from his first test and was dropped, but he came back better for it. Looks like Kleinveldt could benefit from the same treatment.

    5. Merv was 24 on debut, wolf, which is a “fair dinkum” age as you say, with space for an immature start and improvement from there.

      Kleinvelt will turn 30 this season and looks sub test standard right now. It is hard to imagine him breaking through subsequently.

      Merv was deceptively quick too – that girth was a cunning disguise. Kleinvelt looks deceptively medium-paced to me.

      It does make me question whether South Africa has strength in depth in the pace bowling department. And makes me realise how central Kallis is to the balance of their team.

      Isn’t Faf du Plessis supposedly the like-for-like cover for Duminy?

  4. Surely the way forward is FIVE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BOWLER, so as to cause maximum confusion and lack of settling for the batsmen. You could have one quick, one medium pace swing, one spin, er, one crown green, and… oh god knows, some other type of bowler.

    Imagine the batsman’s confusion when the captain brings on Harry, complete with flat cap and pipe, gently drifting the ball in at the stumps finger peg, while the close in fielders shout “Good land, Harry”. Nobody can adjust their perception of pace from 90 miles an hour to 90 years of age that quickly. It would be carnage.

    Hat. And one hat.

  5. Talking of our friend Mitchell, apparently he is back in contention and “swinging” it again. I really wish the Australian media would focus upon cricket, rather than the aletrnative lifestyle that certain people choose to lead.

  6. You’re so so right It seems that Greame Smith and the South African team management think that you can only take wickets by bowling at fast pace over 90 mph but they deny the simple fact that your bowlers cannot bowl at fast pace all the day and to have the variety in your team is necessary to make the batsman work hard for their runs.Look at Australia for instance the very opponents of South Africa in this paricular game their Nathan Lyon has delivered so well.So the South African dug out should pay attention to this issue.

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