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Levi call ‘not a train smash’

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IOL spt feb 22 Richard_Levi

AP

South Africa's Richard Levi hit a 117 off just 51 balls in a T20 match against New Zealand on Sunday.

Auckland - It’s a World Cup year, and in a World Cup year, it’s not always today’s result that is the immediate focus. At least, that is the view of South African convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson.

The World Cup is, of course, the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September, and Hudson views the planning for that event as far more important than the Proteas’ T20 series “final” against New Zealand at Eden Park on Wednesday.

Hudson has certainly had plenty of discussions with coach Gary Kirsten while he’s been in New Zealand, because the pair are almost in perfect synergy, much like when they opened the batting for South Africa during the 1990s.

Kirsten has tried to give all his players time in the middle during the three-match T20 series against the Black Caps, and has manipulated the batting and bowling line-ups to view a certain player in a set situation – which explains why Wayne Parnell strode out at No 3 in Hamilton. The fact that he was not an instant hit does not seem to deter Kirsten – or Hudson, for that matter.

“We back Gary 100 percent, totally understanding what he is trying to achieve,” Hudson remarked.

“Of course the team want to win, but at this stage, it is not completely results-driven, and to have that mindset within the pressures of professional sport is incredible.

“It’s about following the process that ultimately pays dividends at the World Cup.”

But it is not just on-field gameplans that require monitoring. A 15-man squad need to be decided upon come September, and the current brainstrust are not afraid to stretch their net to find the right personnel. And importantly, when discovered, like Richard Levi at the moment, the structures around him are good.

“Some people think (simply) throw him in and give him a run,” Hudson said.

“Grooming is also about getting used to the culture, getting to know the guys. In hindsight, it was great learning for (Levi) to feel comfortable in the new surroundings. We never intended it this way when we picked him, but it seemed to work out like this.”

Levi will have to wait a while longer for his debut in one-day internationals despite the clamour for him to be added to the 14-man squad set to face the Black Caps in three matches after the T20 series.

The new T20 world-record holder will return home on Thursday as originally planned, leaving Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla to start the Proteas’ ODI innings.

“We have to honour the guys we have. To change and manipulate now would be wrong. Let’s see it for what it is: Richard was picked for T20s and he’s delivered in one of them. It’s not a train smash, he has a whole career ahead of him,” Hudson said.

Although Levi is one the younger members of the squad at 24, and fellow debutant fast bowler Marchant de Lange is still only 21, there is a growing number of familiar faces returning to the squad. Justin Ontong and Albie Morkel lead the way here, forming the skeleton of the “middle-tier” players, like Hudson has described them.

“We have guys who are coming back, and they have played a lot of first-class cricket, they know their games. They know what they need to do, and a guy like Justin Ontong has gone about it magnificently,” he added.

“We might be building, but we don’t have a young side, neither do we have an ageing team. Our average age is 28.”

Hudson has also had to manage a rotation policy, mostly involving the senior players. Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Smith missed the T20 series in New Zealand, and Hudson believes this management decision will be mutually beneficial to the team as well as the individuals.

“We haven’t really consulted them, but we have to manage them well, with the amount of cricket being played this year. They would never be able to get through the volume of cricket if they had played all the games, and at the same time it is a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters,” he said. - Cape Times

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theo, wrote

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10:14pm on 22 February 2012
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Fine. But be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions be it good or bad. And at the VERY LEAST, ensure Levi is on standby.

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NAZEEM, wrote

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08:12pm on 22 February 2012
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all aid and done. He was only selected for the T20's, even if he had scored 3 centuries. Are you guys, Hudson and Co, blind? But then again Hudson was also a tin-opener maybe that is why he like GS. I sincerely hope that you win the 1day series Mr Hudson or else stay in NZ.

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NAZEEM, wrote

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08:08pm on 22 February 2012
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all aid and done. He was only selected for the T20's, even if he had scored 3 centuries. Are you guys, Hudson and Co, blind? But then again Hudson was also a tin-opener maybe that is why he like GS. I sincerely hope that you win the 1day series Mr Hudson or else stay in NZ.

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Justin, wrote

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03:17pm on 22 February 2012
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Moral of the story here is that Richard Levi was not selected for the ODI squad, so he has not been 'dropped' as certain comments have alluded to. Yeah, he played an amazing innings in the 2nd T20, and we are all happy for him and for the team. We move onto the next format and i agree with SPOCK101, lets belive in the brains trust that they are doing the correct thing #ForeverProteas

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Spock101, wrote

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01:27pm on 22 February 2012
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Re Mr Levi - how long did it take before he was worked out??? He made a whopping 11 in his next game. So I guess that it would be fine for him to be in the ODI's, score one century and nothing in the next two games... so pray do tell, what is the logic or sense in that? As for the rest of you, get a life. Leave the people that have been appointed with the job to do in THEIR way, not yours. You haven't been entrusted with the responsibility and quite honestly I'm not surprised, you all seem very reactive instead of proactive! As for Ponting - they Aussies have been calling for his head for ages and he's only just been dropped, so where is the similarity? He has also hung on for dear life, insisting that he's still good enough for tests. I really find the emotion outbursts uttered by you armchair selectors irritating. Stop being so myopic and see beyond the 'Now' and think about the 'Then'. It seems to me to be what the appointed selectors are actually trying to do.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:46am on 22 February 2012
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Of course - that is what we can expect from Andrew Hodson - who like Graeme Smith hanged on for dear life at the end of their carreers - step aside and let the young ones play so that we can maybe one day win something like the world cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:43am on 22 February 2012
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Ponting is was dropped because he is not playing well. Pietersen is batting excelent for England and we lost him because we didn't use him. Just some remarks.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:27am on 22 February 2012
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We need to keep this bloke and other young talented players. we already lost KP and others at the cost of a few under performing players.

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Boeba, wrote

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10:13am on 22 February 2012
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It seems like our selectors do not want to win games. With Levi being on Form , how the hell can you drop him from the one day squad. Smith scored a hundred from a sseries which we already won.He was under no pressure to to score freely. Come on selectors open your eyes and brains.

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Anonymous, wrote

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09:43am on 22 February 2012
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SA cricket is in excellent hands! I strongly believe Gary, Andrew ect know exactly what they are doing! We need the skills of 'Dinosaur Mark' right now!! AB has enough on his plate with his batting and new captaincy responsibilities. I sincerely hope there IS a young, hungry and skilled guy out there waiting to take on the hugely NB role of wicket-keeperbatsman! Anonymous' comment re Graeme Smith sounds so Mike Proctorish! Ugh!! Leave this argument to those with greater wisdom and experience than we have as armchair commentators!!

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Nick, wrote

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09:01am on 22 February 2012
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We are good at this in South Africa. Bright new talent is made to chomp the bit on the sidelines for as long as possible, while all the old fading stalwarts are kept in for as long as possible. We see it all the time. This is where the Aussies are good, they bring these young guys in as soon as possible and keep the momentum going. I remember years ago when it was clear that Joost van der Westhuizen was the next great thing, he was made to sit on the bench for months while the Bulls were being slaughtered. When he finally got the nod (way too late) they never looked back.

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Anonymous, wrote

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08:55am on 22 February 2012
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What b....it! No selector or coach can justify this type of rationale. What it all really comes down to jobs for pals based on the belief that certain players should be rewarded for their service to this country. SA Cricket does not owe Smith, Boucher and Co anything. As long as a few individuals or groups maintain it their right to be the sole custodians of a National Asset, this country, with all it's sporting codes, is doomed. If any player is good and performs exceptionally well, as did Philander and Levi, then they deserve a call up in at least two formats of the game!

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Anonymous, wrote

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08:41am on 22 February 2012
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Give Graeme Smith the boot - permanently!

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Al, wrote

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08:36am on 22 February 2012
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They are palnning to replace Boucher with Thami, how is that good for cricket? He is 31, hardly a youngster.

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Anonymous, wrote

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08:12am on 22 February 2012
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WHAT A LOT OF HOG WASH BRINGING GRAEME SMITH TO BAT HE HAS BEEN A DISASTER FOR A LONG TIME NOW

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Tshepo , wrote

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07:51am on 22 February 2012
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Just give the young hungry guys a run, the old guard is just not cutting it, other countries always jump at an opportunity to give their talented youth a run and CSA seems scared to let go of the old dinasaurs like Mark Boucher, hope this current era of selectors , management and coaching staff do a better job in identifying talent and nurturing it, I STILL maintain that Levi should have stayed on in NZ for the ODI's

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