South Africa

Smith: Fit to lead Proteas

Smith: Fit to lead Proteas

South Africa squad:
Graeme Smith (captain)
Jacques Kallis
Loots Bosman
Johan Botha
Mark Boucher
AB de Villiers
JP Duminy
Herschelle Gibbs
Rory Kleinveldt
Charl Langeveldt
Albie Morkel
Morne Morkel
Dale Steyn
Juan Theron
Roelof van der Merwe

Overview

Strangely enough while other teams have embraced the shortest form of the game, South Africa have played only two twenty20 internationals since last year's competition.

The Proteas don't have the best record in major tournaments, with the 'chokers' tag continuing to plague Graeme Smith's men.

Last time out the South Africans made it to the semi-final stage before falling to eventual champions Pakistan, and performed in a similar manner in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, making to the final four before coming up second best against an unstoppable Australian outfit.

The Proteas squad does not look as formidable as it has at times in the past but despite that there is more than enough quality in the side to suggest that the South Africans will be in contention when the business end of the competition arrives.

Strengths

Kallis: Flourished in IPL

The Proteas are lucky enough to have plenty of options at the top of the order, with Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs and Loots Bosman all in contention for a place in the top three.

Kallis' sparkling form in the Indian Premier League with the Bangalore Royal Challengers should secure his spot, probably at number three.

Bosman's knocks of 94 and 58 last time out against England may see him pip Gibbs for the position of Smith's opening partner. AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel will be the rocks of the middle order.

As for the bowling, oaceman Dale Steyn is a handful for opposing batsmen no matter what form of the game he is playing in.

Weaknesses

Parnell: Ruled out

With Wayne Parnell and Justin Kemp ruled out of the tournament through injury, the South African's bowling line-up looks a bit thin.

Steyn and Charl Langeveldt should form a good new ball combination and Kallis will undoubtedly be as reliable as always, but beyond that the Proteas look a little short.

Albie Morkel has struggled with the ball of late and despite early promise questions still hang over Roelof van der Merwe's long-term future at the highest level.

JP Duminy can chip in with a few overs but should one of the strike bowlers suffer an injury a heavy burden will fall on the inexperienced duo of Juan Theron and Rory Kleinveldt.

Six-hitter - Albie Morkel

Morkel: Big-hitter in middle order

In the 08/09 season in Australia, Morkel's big hitting during the 50-over series catapulted the all-rounder into star master blaster for the Proteas, and rightly so, as the left-hander near unstoppable at his best.

Unfortunately the 28-year-old has largely failed to build on those performances, with innings of substance few and far between. Often expected to perform miracles in the final throngs of the innings, Morkel's lack of progression has not been helped many elements of the team's tactics.

Strike bowler - Dale Steyn

Steyn: One of the best

In last year's ICC Champions Trophy it was Wayne Parnell who took the majority of the wickets while Steyn performed the anchor role at the other end.

With the left-armer on the sidelines, there will be extra pressure on Steyn to fire on all cylinders. He isn't in the top echelons of fast bowling by chance though; the 26-year-old has the ability to wreck havoc on even the most established of batting line-ups.

Look out for...Charl Langeveldt

Langeveldt: Wily campaigner

With Wayne Parnell injured, Charl Langeveldt looks certain to share the new ball with Steyn, and the experienced campaigner could prove to be one of the surprises of the tournament.

A wily bowler, Langeveldt enjoyed a profitable early spell in the IPL, picking up five wickets in his three matches at an average of 17.60 and an economy rate of 8.

Unfortunately for Langeveldt and the Proteas the combination of injury and the arrival of Shane Bond at the Kolkata Knight Riders put pay to his participation in the latter stages of the competition.

However, the 35-year-old could throw up a few surprises in the Caribbean.

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