The Fantasy England vs South Africa T20 Preview
If you can’t figure out who’s playing for who in this series, you’re not alone. This ensemble is good enough to make a soap opera of a series with all the underlying allegiances and doubtful loyalties.
England has in its ranks players of South African and Irish origins while South Africa has in its ranks Ex Kolpak players who decided to come back home rather than play under another flag.
The T20s begin today and coupled with injuries, some weird selection decisions have been made. Alistair Cook, who doesn’t feature in the England ODI squad is set to open the batting. Andrew Strauss, their most prolific scorer in Tests and ODIs and captain of those two teams does not like playing T20 and hence will sit out. But wait, Cook is doubtful to start due to a sore threat and Strauss may just play under Collingwood in the T20 team.
The South Africans have a much stronger team. The sheer amount of players who can pass off as all rounders is their trump card. They have Albie Morkel, Duminy, Botha, van der Merwe and Ryan McLaren. So strong is their squad that they have rested Jacques Kallis for the first T20.
England’s response to this crack team of all rounders is a rather modest line up of Paul Collingwood, Luke Wright, Graeme Swann. Dimitri Mascarenhas is not in the team, Stuart Broad is out with an injury and Tim Bresnan has not done much besides a solitary 50 in the Champions Trophy.
The batsmen on either sides could probably match each other. Graeme Smith, Loots Bosman & A B deVilliers against Joe Denly, Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan.
The bowling is much more balanced with Dale Steyn, Charl Langeveldt and Wayne Parnell up against James Anderson, Graham Onions and Bresnan/Sajid Mahmood.
South Africa will use the T20s to test young wicket keeper Heino Kuhn as a choice for the future. He has been consistent in his batting and keeping for his domestic team and will be eager to seal a place ahead of other competitors such as a Morne van Wyk.