South Africa Tour England for English summer of 2012. It is the fight for the Numero Uno status in the Test Arena. South Africa the eternal bridesmaid will eye a series win and repeat the victory of 2008. If only this was a full five test match series. I don't know who sets the cricketing calendar but surely this person is oblivious of want the fans are queuing up for. A premier Test Series like this one in which the top bracket teams are playing deserve a five test series. I believe premier ties like Indian-Pak, Indian-Aus, Aus-SAf, SAf-Eng deserve to be a five test series, if it means sacrificing a few dead ODI of T20 so be it.There was an additional wish that was lingering in my mind, an ODI series of Aus-SAf-Eng it would have been perfect. I think its the best series that never happened in some time now. It is sad to say the least. SAf start this series with absence of Mark Boucher. I know these two teams playing offer a lot but an indifferent English weather is the key to whole series.
Mark Boucher a Hero.
How brilliant was Mark Boucher? I mean yes he was best compared to Gilchrist for better part of his career. But I am sure Boucher could hold on to this game his own. His qualities, abilities and performances defy and outweigh his career stats. He was one player you would look forward to when the team wasn't doing good. He got out on a freakish injury when he was struck by a bail that flew off to hit his eye. It perhaps the saddest way to bow out. If you could imagine, its something like an opera singer gearing up for that finale only to retire because of sore throat. It is indeed sad and anti-climatic, unworthy and rude to someone like Mark Boucher. I hope Boucher provides an inspiration and hopefully South Africans will have some additional motivation to push for series win. Whoever replaces Boucher will have a huge role to fulfill. I thought in last few seaso Boucher was given a raw deal. He shouldnt have been dropped for 2011 World Cup considering he was the most adapt at playing spin especially on sub-continental pitches. He wasn't the first choice keeper for limited overs cricket for some time. Boucher has 999 dismals to his name. A huge Mountain to climb if somebody has to emulate and better him.
South Africa on the chase.
South Africa is one of the better teams, considering, discipline, fintess and ability to make runs especially in English condition. Smith, Kallis, De'Villers along with (Alviro) Petersen, Amla, Duminy and Rudolph. The SAf bat around Kallis who averages 29 against England in England, hoping he does better, considering he averages around 56 in tests otherwise. Kallis will have to do well if South Africa wishes to upstage England in their backyard. Smith will remember previous English tour with some sense of fondness, he has done well and he will have to set the tone and swagger as he opens the batting. Amla is a key componenet and provides variety in the Saf line up. DeVilliers is a top athelete and has had a very good last couple of season. He will be keep with Boucher injured may just alter his game. Rudolph knows the English condition as he has played first class county there, not sure he will have a role to play. Dumiy need to find more peaks to climb after some good performances early on in his career in Australia. But English attack is on ascendency and will test Duminy if and when he plays.
Dale Styen Gun will be al ready to fire on all cylinder with a formidable bowling attack. He is a key memeber who can have significant influence by taking and inducing wickets. Morkel, Philander, Tahir, Kallis, DeLange and other. It is a ver formidable attack Steyn will look to destroy and Morkel will look to bounce, Philander will look to outwit with cunning use of swing and seam. Tahir should play all tests. But Saf dont use spinners in an attacking role. Tahir himself will look to keep things tight. It will be interesting to see how Smith uses Tahir, SAf haave in recent years not have a leg spinner an attacking option. Smith should attack with Tahir,it will be very interesting how things unravel in the spin department. SAf will be facing Swan who is on top of the game at the moment.
It will be intersting. Dale versus Peitersen will be a treat to watch. I already cant wait to see this contest.I am not sure what playing eleven Saf choose but I hope their starting eleven is - (Alviro) Petersen, Smith, Amla, Kallis, DeVilliers, Rudolph, (Albie) Morkel, Steyn Philander, (Morne) Morkle, Tahir.
The English Challenge
English team seems to be one of the most settled teams, Strauss, Cook, Bell, Trott, Pietersen, Bopara, Prior, Broad, Swan, Bresnan, Anderson and others. They have enough in the batting line up to make run. The bowling also balances each other out in bowling. Anderson can seem to string the ball and bend it on will, Broad and Bresnan keep the batsman honest. Broad has had very good few season. But SAf provide the English the toughest challenge since Pak toured England. Then English were faced wih some other challenges ad found themselves in some fix. Strauss and Cook like to bat long. Pietersen provides the oomph while Trott will provide the soothing effect, Bell and Bopara the key. English have enough riches with their tail often coming to fore front and scoring runs. Te bowling line up has variety in pace and spin. Swann will l pose some very interesting questions. Swan will be hoping he gets some purchase from the pitches.
The advantage they have had is they have already played a few test coming into this test. They will hope to get SAf early. Smith vs Strauss is another contest to look forward too.The weather and pitches hold key.
The link to blog on previous tour of South Africa to England.