The Proteas' T20 Best: Two great death bowlers and a wily leg-spinner
BOWLERS are often viewed as mere “bowling machines” in T20 cricket, with their sole aim being to serve up half-volleys for batsmen to blast out of the ground.
It really takes a special kind of individual to be successful for he needs not only the technical skill but also the mental resolve. ZAAHIER ADAMS chooses the trio who he believes have ice running through their veins.
The current Proteas bowling coach was a revered “death bowler” in his hey-day. The skills he now passes on to the modern-day generation and insists on them practising for hours was his daily bread.
Few trained as hard as “Langes” and the dedication to his craft showed on game-days. He firmly believes in repetition is the only road to perfection, as it allows the bowler to remain in calm in pressure situations.
Langeveldt also lives by the mantra that “the next ball is the most important” for bowlers will get hit for sixes in T20 cricket, but how they respond to it will determine the outcome of the over.
It also helped that he could land his yorker on the mark more often than not, while also being the pioneer of “the knuckle ball”.
As the leader of South Africa’s new generation of fast bowlers, “KG” carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders every time he walks out on to the park.
It has led to him going over the top in the Test arena a couple of times, but nobody wants him to lose the aggression altogether. His aggressive nature has certainly helped in T20’s where Rabada constantly goes searching for wickets to stem the run-rate.
A pupil under Langeveldt’s watch, Rabada has quickly learnt the value of being able to deliver a pin-point yorker almost on cue, His execution was particularly brilliant last year for his Indian Premier League franchise Delhi.
He also has a canny slower ball and is therefore entrusted with closing out games for the Proteas.
The grand master of spin bowling in South Africa is once again an automatic choice. Tahir’s feats are legendary in white-ball cricket, with the veteran topping the ICC T20 bowler’s rankings for a large part of his career.
Unlike the other spinners that have globally been successful in T20 cricket, Tahir does not rely on mystery deliveries such as the doosra or carom balls. Neither does he have an outrageous action. Instead, Tahir’s weapons of mass destruction are the traditional leg-break and googly, with the latter particularly being his chief method of attack.
Tahir has claimed 64 wickets – just three shy of South Africa’s leading T20i wicket-taker of all time Dale Steyn – but has achieved it in 12 matches less than the fast bowler.
Faf du Plessis (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Justin Kemp, Robin Peterson, Kagiso Rabada, Charl Langeveldt, Imran Tahir.