Return of 'the big guns' for the Proteas should be enough to level the series

Proteas batsman David Miller in action

David Miller should make a welcome return the Proteas team for the third ODI against the West Indies on Tuesday. Picture: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Published Mar 19, 2023


Gqeberha – The return of David Miller, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and either Sisanda Magala or Wayne Parnell promises to strengthen the Proteas ahead of the third One-Day International against the West Indies and also for the all-important Netherlands series.

The loss to the West Indies in East London left an excitement amongst the fans in anticipation of what a full-strength Proteas side could achieve now that the captain, Temba Bavuma, is on song.

The team that suffered a loss to the West Indies this past Saturday had only Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Lungi Ngidi as senior players and also as regulars in ODIs while the rest of the players were auditioning and fighting for spots.

Tabrazi Shamsi was dropped for the West Indies ODI series after a poor run of form, including last month’s series against England in Bloemfontein and Kimberly. The injury to Keshav Maharaj saw him being added to the squad days before the start of the ODI series in East London.

Gerald Coetzee put on an audition of note on debut in the absence of speedsters, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. The other three debutants from the second ODI, have a lot to do to force their way into the 50-Over World Cup squad that will fly to India in October.

If and when 'the big guns' return, the side should be able to bulldoze past the West Indies in Potchesfstroom on Tuesday. The middle order will be boosted by the return of Miller, Markam and Klaasen, while either Parnell or Magala are expected to take the all-rounder spot after Marco Jansen’s disappointing go at Buffalo Park.

Markram, Miller and Klaasen have the ability and experience to better handle the middle phase of a 50-Over game. The 76-run foundation that Bavuma and De Kock laid inside the first power play at Buffalo Park, would’ve been more than enough to allow the big guns to come in and play their natural games to guide South Africa home at Buffalo Park.

Less than a run-a-ball was required in the last 10 overs on Saturday, and one would think Miller would relish to find himself alongside Bavuma in that game situation. His form over the last year suggests that he has enough experience to set himself in and cash in at the back end of a chase.

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At the other end, Magala and Parnell are proven strike-bowlers at any stage of the game. Should either one of them play on Tuesday, it will be a different ball game altogether in Potchefstroom.

With the conditions in Senwes Park favouring spinners, both Bjorn Fortuin and Tabraiz Shamsi are likely to play on Tuesday.

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Most importantly, the Proteas will have a sixth bowling option in the golden arm of Markram. This attack gives Bavuma enough options to tame the West Indies batters, especially the inform Shai Hope.

Should South Africa continue with their experiment, the big guns might return during the Netherlands ODI series that starts in two weeks. The series is crucial for South Africa as they still push for a possible direction qualification to the World Cup.


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