New Selections & One Day Cricket

9 01 2010

Interesting news coming out of the South African camp today with two new faces being added to their squad for the final test. One nil down already, this is of course a must win game for the Boks and the selections of Wayne Parnell and Imran Tahir reflect this need.

The particularly interesting choice of the two is Imran Tahir. Followers of the county game in England will perhaps recognise the name as he has had short spells at several clubs including Yorkshire, Middlesex and Hampshire, as Cricinfo says [Tahir] ‘is the epitome of the journeyman cricketer’. His figures however are anything but journeyman. An average of 25 with the ball and a strike rate of 47 is not to be sniffed at. He is also Pakistani by birth which should (but probably won’t) put the selections of KP and Trott for England in perspective for the South African crowds.

By selecting Tahir Graeme Smith is tacitly acknowledging Paul Harris’ role as a defensive spinner. In a series in which the leading wicket taker is a finger spinner unfortunately Harris’ limitations have been exposed and if Tahir does well then he could be in for an extended run in the side. For my money Tahir would be more likely to run through a side on a final day pitch and therefore is a step in the right direction for South Africa.

Moving to the subcontinent where yet another boring and utterly pointless one day competition is underway featuring Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. The only frisson of interest has been Bangladesh’s improved batting performances, each time scoring in excess of 249. They haven’t won any of the games but if they can continue scoring consistently they are half way there.

Sri Lanka and India have played each other 21 times in 19 months – surely saturation point has been reached. By contrast India has only 4 tests scheduled in 2010 and two of these are against Bangladesh. It is imperative for the preeminence of test cricket that India and all other teams play more regularly than this. Without regular test matches involving the top nations test cricket will wither and become an anachronism in a new helter skelter 20/20 world.

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