The Herald (Harare)

1 June 2012

Zimbabwe: It's Still a Strong Proteas Team Dean Du Plessis

Photo: Facebook/Qazi De Villiers Cricket South Africa
Vernon Philander was the big winner at the Cricket South Africa awards gala.

Many fans who followed the Indian Premier League will be disappointed with the 15-man squad announced by Cricket South Africa to play Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in a Twenty20 triangular series, which gets underway on June 17.

Although the cricket fans will still be treated to some mouth-watering games from some talented players, many would have been hoping to see the likes of AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in action at Harare Sports Club.

Morkel was the top wicket-taker at the IPL.

But, sadly, the local fans who had been banking on seeing the South African stars will have to wait a little bit longer.

De Villiers, who has now become the full-time ODI and T20 captain of the Proteas, and Morkel and Steyn have been given a break in preparation for a long and taxing trip to England next month.

So, with the three big guns resting, this naturally takes some gloss off the tournament.

But only a real devil will tell you that the South African team will be short on class when you see that Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and the explosive Abie Morkel will be here.

And they all can provide real entertainment for cricket fans. From a South African perspective, it is good to see all-rounder, Johan Botha, returning to the side and the added responsibility of captain shouldn't trouble him as he has captained the Proteas before at T20 level on many occasions. He also has a very impressive record against quality opposition.

One player who has made cricket lovers around the world sit up and take notice in a very short space of time is very impressive fast bowler Marchant de Lange.

The strongly built right arm speedster burst onto the scene in a Test match against Sri Lanka in December last year and has not looked back since as his combination of late away swinging deliveries, with the new ball, and toe-crushing yorkers with the older ball towards the end of the innings, has rapidly made him a force to be reckoned with.

De Lange will also have formidable partners in the two highly-talented left-arm swing bowlers, Wayne Parnell, and the very under-rated Lonwabo Tsotsobe who is a real threat with the new ball. It will also be interesting to see if South Africa will use Faf du Plessis at the top of the order, a position which he pretty much made his own for most of the IPL when he played for the Chennai Super Kings before he was struck down by a virus and then lost his place to Australia's Mike Hussey.

With the likes of Richard Levi and Hashim Amla at the top of the order, du Plessis will certainly find himself in the middle order where he normally bats when playing for his country.

Now that South Africa have named their 15-man squad, Zimbabwean fans will be waiting in anticipation to hear the final 15 men to take on the Proteas and the Tigers in just over two weeks time.

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