Kleinveldt sets sights on battered Kiwis

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Proteas seamer Rory Kleinveldt expects pace and bounce at Boland Park when the three-match ODI series kicks off against New Zealand in Paarl. Photo by Duif du Toit

Proteas seamer Rory Kleinveldt expects “pace and bounce” at his second home ground, Boland Park, when the three-match one-day international series against New Zealand begins in Paarl on Saturday.

Kleinveldt, who plays his domestic cricket for the Cape Cobras, has bowled many overs at the countryside venue over the years, and is well suited to provide insight into the expected conditions.

“The one-day wickets have become quite good there,” he said. “Usually they are slow and low but over the last year or two there have been some big scores. The wickets have a bit more pace and bounce, so it should be a good wicket.”

The ground has been a happy hunting ground for the Proteas of late. Last year they thrashed Sri Lanka by 258 runs after posting a mammoth first innings score of 301.

Morné Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe destroyed the islan-ders on that picture-perfect night in the Boland, dismissing the tourists for just 43. It provided the perfect start to AB de Villiers’ new leadership tenure.

Morkel and Tsotsobe will be back again this weekend hoping to wreak similar havoc on the under-fire Kiwis, although there is the likelihood that premier fast bowler Dale Steyn might sit out the first one-dayer after his recent exertions in the Test series. Steyn was excellent with the red ball, claiming 13 wickets in the two-match series, including eight in the final Test in Port Elizabeth earlier this week.

This situation would then possibly open the door to either all-rounder Ryan McLaren or Kleinveldt to join the attack. McLaren was recently called up as cover for the injured Vernon Philander for the PE Test, while Kleinveldt took giant strides in his career at St George’s Park.

He produced a couple of beautiful deliveries which hit the deck hard before seaming away sufficiently either to find the outside edge or hit the top of off stump. Cobras’ fans have routinely seen Kleinveldt produce spells like these with the white ball, especially last season, when he enjoyed a successful One-Day Cup campaign.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that,” he said about the ODI format being his favourite. “I enjoy the first-class format as well. I have done well recently in one-day cricket, so I’m looking forward to that and hopefully contributing positively to a win.”

The third seamer is not the only selection quandary facing the Proteas this weekend.

The composition of the batting line-up has not yet been decided, especially with new faces Farhaan Berhardien and wicket-keeper/batsman Quinton de Kock joining the side in the absence of stalwarts Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy. Kallis has been rested for this series, while Duminy is still on the sidelines due to his Achilles injury.

Their non-availability has also opened the door for Colin Ingram to return to the natio-nal side after almost a year in the wilderness.

The selectors would have been keen to use De Kock at No3 behind opening pair Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, but the 20-year-old faces a possible censure from Cricket South Africa for his role in a fracas at domestic game at Newlands last weekend.

De Kock will appear in front of the disciplinary commissioner “as soon as possible” on charges over his role in pushing an opposition player. If found guilty, he will miss the two opening ODIs in Paarl and Kimberley, which could alter the thinking yet again.

Ingram has previously occupied the No3 slot when Kallis was injured or being rested. He enjoyed a spectacular start to his ODI career in that role three years ago, scoring two centuries – one on debut – in his first four innings. It earned the Warriors captain a ticket to the World Cup 2011 on the sub-continent, but unfortunately for the talented left-hander he played only one game. - The Star


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