It was at one of those breakfast functions about a year ago that Allan Donald was asked about South Africa’s fast bowling “cupboard”.
You know how it is – it’s great having Steyn, Morkel, Tsotsobe and at that time Philander had just emerged – but once you have them, people want to know what else is available, you know, in case…
So there sat Donald on a stage in Sandton, still new to the job as South Africa’s bowling coach, having just had his first cup of coffee and he was asked about the “fast bowling stocks”. Was he comfortable that should Steyn, Morkel or Philander get injured, that South African cricket had enough or the requisite talent on the domestic circuit to replace them?
Donald “ummed” and “aahed” and said he wasn’t certain South Africa had good enough replacements should injuries or any other disaster befall the national side’s quick bowlers. Then he was asked to name someone who’d caught his attention. “Erm, Marcel de Lange, I think,” came his reply.
Donald is perfectly aware now of who Marchant de Lange is, and he’d also have been brought up to date on who is coming through the ranks at domestic level.
There are new names like Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Lizaad Williams and Beuran Hendricks establishing themselves for their franchises. Just as encouraging is the form being shown by Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell, two bowlers with international experience, who have needed “game time” instead of touring the world as net bowlers.
The benefit of competition has served Parnell and Tsotsobe well, just as it is doing for Morris, Williams and Viljoen.
One of Gary Kirsten’s major plans is to create a deeper pool of fast bowlers.
In an interview after the Test series win in England, Kirsten spoke of his envy for the fast bowling talent Andy Flower and Mickey Arthur had at their disposal. South Africa may not face the heavy schedule that Australia and England have to deal with, but different conditions and the various formats place unique demands on players.
Having a wider range of players is vital. It fosters competition, and will ensure that those in the national team don’t become complacent.
Second, Kirsten and Donald have a duty to ensure that South Africa’s future is secure and that means keeping abreast of the talent circulating domestically.
Donald will agree that the nation’s fast bowling stocks are not bare. Harnessing that talent is crucial to the national side’s future. – The Star