Proteas batsmen lack intensity, says Klusener
JOHANNESBURG – But for a few wrinkles around the eyes, Lance Klusener, who turned 48 yesterday, looks like he could still stride to the middle of a cricket field and launch balls miles into the stratosphere.
Klusener still possesses those broad shoulders and muscular forearms that wielded one of the heaviest bats of the post-isolation era. And he is determined that the kind of icy intimidation with which he played, should and could be replicated by the current era of Proteas and that talk of a transition should be no excuse for poor performances.
Klusener played 49 Tests and 171 one-day internationals, with his most famous displays coming in the 1999 World Cup where he almost single-handedly dragged South Africa to the title.
He was something of a surprising call up to Enoch Nkwe’s coaching staff and his role for now involves working only with the T20 team for its three-match series in India, the first match of which takes place in Dharamshala next Sunday.
How long Klusener stays with the team beyond this tour is something that still needs to be resolved. “I’ve got other engagements up until February,” he said at the Tshwane University of Technology Oval, where a small group of Proteas have been training ahead of departing for India tomorrow.
Klusener will work mainly with the batsmen for the T20 series and while he can’t look too far ahead he is determined to change one aspect of their play.
“I’ve been watching as a spectator for eight years it’s hard to say from the outside, what I see is (a lack of) intensity. That’s what I would be looking at... I hate to say it, but it just doesn’t look right.”
While tension gripped others, Klusener always looked like the calmest man in the world, and there was certainly never any doubting his intent with the bat - as 1999 showed.
“I think it is intensity. It’s having a presence at the crease, and I’m only speaking from a batting point of view. I want to bring some fresh ideas, I believe if you’re doing the same things you achieve the same results... hopefully the boys will respond and change the way they approach or think about it.”
There were certainly times in this year’s World Cup - most notably in the match against Bangladesh - when SA looked limp.
Asked if there were players in the squad heading to India who could mimic what he did with the bat, Klusener replied: “Why can’t David (Miller) do that? Why can’t Andile (Phehlukwayo)? Why can’t (Dwaine) Pretorius? Why can’t they do it tomorrow? Those are the questions I ask.
“I don’t think it’s technical, besides a few small things, but most of it is believing they can do that.”
The SA T20I squad is:
Quinton de Kock (capt), Rassie van der Dussen (vice-capt), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts.@shockerhess