It would seem Proteas coach Russell Domingo is dead set on picking all-rounders as part of his recipe for success in the ICC Champions Trophy.
That became clear after he admitted the experienced Morne Morkel isn’t an automatic choice in the starting XI.
South Africa’s bowling firepower was under the microscope in the first two ODIs against England after conceding scores of 339/6 and 330/6.
All four the Proteas’ bowling all-rounders – Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius – conceded over six runs per over and only took 10 wickets between them.
Despite Morkel not scalping any victims in Monday’s consolation win at Lord’s, his presence as a specialist bowler seems reassuring.
However, Domingo believes the pitches in the ICC tournament – which starts on Thursday – will be batsman-friendly.
As a result, South Africa potentially need a longer batting order.
“Morne is a quality bowler and it’s really good to have him back,” said Domingo.
“But it’s a catch-22 situation because having Morne there might strengthen our bowling, it gives us more of a tail not having the three allrounders.”
“We have to acknowledge that the bowlers who’ve played in his absence have done really well. I always thought it was only fair to give them the first bite of the cherry.”
There are merits to Domingo’s view on the expected conditions.
In both matches where the Proteas had to chase over 300, the pitches were distinctly flat.
And the conditions at Lord’s, where the new-ball pair of Kagiso Rabada and Parnell shot out the hosts for 153, was perhaps the exception rather than the rule.
“That’s the way England bat at times. If there’s something in the wicket, and you land the ball in the right areas and they nick the ball, you’ve got a chance against them because they play that expansive brand of cricket. On flatter wickets, they and other teams are going to be dangerous,” he said.
“That’s why it might not always work lengthening the tail.”