Powerful batting line-up
The Proteas boast the most destructive and adaptable batting line-up in the game.
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They also have the stability of Faf du Plessis in the middle order and a very long tail, with all-rounders such as Dwaine Pretorius, Wayne Parnell and Andile Phehlukwayo more than capable with the willow in their hands.
Great slow bowling options
Imran Tahir is the premier limited overs bowler in the world right now, and plays a vital role in the middle overs for the Proteas. Tahir is a genuine wicket-taker, bamboozling many batsmen with his wide variety of deliveries (mostly the googly) over the last few years.
He automatically slows the scoring in the middle overs, but is also more than useful in the opening 10 overs if the Proteas’ seamers get smacked around.
The exclusion of Tabraiz Shamsi comes as a shock, especially as good wrist-spinners are all the rage at the moment. However, Test spinner Keshav Maharaj has been quite a revelation since making his Test debut against Australia in November and should hold his own as the second spinner.
Plenty of quality all-rounders
During the last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand the Proteas struggled to get the balance of their team right. Middle-order batsman Farhaan Berhardien had to bat at No 7 while sharing a few overs with Duminy to complete the fifth bowler’s quota.
But these days the Proteas boast a plethora of exciting young all-rounders who have impressed with both bat and ball over the last eight months.
Morris, Pretorius, Parnell and Phehlukwayo are likely to fight it out for the two of the all-rounders’ berths. All four players have proved to be match winners over the last few years, and it’s going to be a tough call. Who wants to be a selector?
Form of the fast bowlers
The return of Morné Morkel will give the South African fast-bowling unit a much-needed boost. Morkel’s experience has been missed in the absence of the injured Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbott, who recently chose to take up a Kolpak contract in England.
The Proteas’ pace attack has been really inconsistent in the 50-over game, with none of the pacemen really putting up their hand to partner the young Kagiso Rabada upfront with the new ball.
Morris and Parnell can add a lot of value to the team because of their batting, but, while they can crank it up into the mid-140km/h with the new ball, they have been pretty erratic.
Quality back-up batsman
Injury to either opener could be a massive blow, especially as the Proteas are not taking a genuine opening batsman as back-up for Amla and De Kock.
Berhardien, more renowned for his finishing at the back end of the innings, is the reserve batsman in the squad and is not really suited to the opening role if he needed to fill in. A genuine opener would have also been a great back-up in English conditions, which is known to be conducive for swing bowling.
Du Plessis or Parnell, who regularly opens the batting in domestic cricket, could go upfront in a crisis, but that could throw off the balance of the Proteas’ batting line-up.
JP Duminy’s form
Duminy’s all-round ability makes him a vital component of the Proteas line-up, especially if a debate about playing two spinners arises. But his batting has been out of sorts over the last few months, as he hasn’t scored more than 34 in his last 10 knocks.
After a wonderful home series against Australia, in which he scored a 82 and a 73, Duminy has gone off the boil a bit, with his frailties against off-spin and short-pitched bowling again coming to the fore.
His bowling isn’t what it used to be either, as he is delivering too many boundary balls.
The elegant left-hander needs to use the upcoming series against England to reassure South Africans that he isn’t a spent force.
SOUTH AFRICAN SQUAD
AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir.