Part II of VI – To choke or not to choke – The Proteas Question?

There has never been a weak South African side ever since they returned to the international fold. They have been among the top teams always , however they are without a major trophy to their name. The way that they have been dumped out of the World Cups , through stupidity or quirks of fate, has earned them the unenviable tag of “Chokers”. What is it different this time? I have put the current South African team through the MBA scanner below.

Strengths:
Batting Talent: Greame Smith, Hashim Amla, De Villiers, Kallis, Duminy is possibly the best in form batting lineup at the moment. Though Dhoni and Raina may have put India back level pegging as I write.
Fast Bowling Stocks: Steyn, Morkel , Totsobe,Parnell form a honest fast bowling attack. Though not as quick or penetrative as the Australian fast bowling attack, they are more accurate and predictable. Steyn is the super star and the best bowler in the world right now.
Record in sub continent: South Africa is one team that has a good record in the sub continent and that will stand them in good stead
Fielding: SA fielding remains top class and gives them an edge over India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Weaknesses:
Middle Order: In the absence of Jacques Kallis the soft belly of the South Africans was exposed in the Indian series. De Villiers was not in form and the all rounders were inadequate leading to sudden collapses
Spin: Though SA have introduced Imran Tahir, Botha nad Peterson dont inspire wicket tacking confidence that is needed in such conditions. Tahir may run into some problems against India and Sri Lanka who play leg spin really well

Lack of the X factor: Though Steyn, Amla, Kallis can provide some of this, the Kluesner kind of presence is lacking in this team. Yusuf, Afridi, Malinga, Razzaq, Johnson all provide a more unstoppable feeling when in the groove. So SA definitely lack this.

Opportunities:
Kallis’ Ambition – The legend is in great form and hungry to make the World Cup his own. Like Sachin he could single handedly carry the Springboks to the cup

Smith’s Captaincy Swansong: Smith will be ODI captain for the last time in the World Cup. He would desperately wish SA win this to establish them as a great team

Threats:

The Proverbial “Choke” – Can SA not choke? Can they control their urge to self destruct in crunch situations? Questions that will echo till they win the World Cup. The team will be under pressure and it is not going to be easy to erase a decade old tag.

The fitness of Kallis: Kallis has just returned after an injury and he is critical to the Proteas chances but his bowling may be limited in the World Cup

Conclusion

South Africa have a very good side and their problems are more in the mind than in the skills. However they have taken the steps to have more variety in the attack and be more aggressive in recent times.

Theoretical Chances of Winning – 80%
Practical Chances of Choking – 50%

The erratic Pakistanis come up in the next post

Advertisements

About Pramod Parmeshwaran

I love writing and expressing myself. I am a software entrepreneur by profession, a voracious reader by hobby and sports crazy by nature
This entry was posted in Cricket, Sports and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s