Domestic / 11 January 2020, 11:00am / ASHFAK Mohamed
Two left-arm spinners put up their hands for a recall to the Proteas Test squad with fine displays in this week’s 4-Day Franchise Series matches.
And it happened to come from the same encounter as well - the Cape Cobras against the Dolphins in Oudtshoorn, which the KZN side won by 137 runs on Thursday.
The Cobras’ George Linde produced a match haul of 11/138, having claimed 6/51 in the first innings and 5/87 in the second.
Dolphins all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy came close to matching Linde with a match analysis of 10/128, including 7/36 in the second innings as the Cobras were dismissed for 86.
Both men made their Test debuts on the recent tour of India, with Linde taking 4/133 in his only innings of a series where India thrashed South Africa 3-0.
Muthusamy didn’t bowl much in his two Tests - just more than 39 overs for two wickets in three innings.
Linde tops this season’s four-day series wicket-takers’ list with 26 in four matches. Muthusamy has claimed 15 wickets in three Dolphins matches.
The performance of Keshav Maharaj in the second Test defeat to England at Newlands may have made the management consider their spin options for the third Test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
Maharaj registered 1/68 in 27 overs in the first innings and 2/160 in 43 overs in the second at Newlands.
But the Proteas selectors announced an unchanged squad yesterday for the last two Test matches.
Cricket South Africa said in a statement that the starting team from the Newlands Test, as well as Cobras paceman Dane Paterson, will travel to Port Elizabeth tomorrow, while the rest of the squad members will play in the 4-Day Series for their franchises.
“The selection panel are placing an emphasis on the importance of game time for non-starting players, and prefer that they are available to their teams to help boost the competition. They will join the national team if and when required,” Cricket SA said.
But coach Mark Boucher will hope that Maharaj can get among the wickets once more in Port Elizabeth.
He bowled quite well in the second innings of the first Test at Centurion, where he claimed the big wicket of Ben Stokes in taking 2/37 in 16 overs.
Former Proteas spinner Paul Adams told Independent Media at Newlands that he noticed Maharaj had bowled a lot from over the wicket, which may have been part of the problem.
“I feel that Keshav opted quite a lot to go over the wicket, looked to bowl into the rough, especially to the right-hand batsmen. It’s something he hasn’t really done a lot of I haven’t witnessed a lot of him doing that in his Test career thus far. The majority of his overs in that second innings was bowled like that,” Adams said.
“For me, Keshav is someone who needs to be bowling quite straight, wicket to wicket, because he doesn’t really turn the ball that much. So, one of his strengths is to bring a lot more dismissals into play - which is bowled and lbw - and sort of challenge both inside and outside edges of the bat. So, we could’ve seen a lot more around the wicket (bowling) and really go to his strength, which has been really good for him for the past year or two.”
Proteas Test Squad
Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Rassie van der Dussen, Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Temba Bavuma, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks, Rudi Second.