Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
3 Apr 2014
6:00 am

Ntini warns Proteas

Heinz Schenk

The Proteas will need to guard against over-reliance on Imran Tahir when they face India in their World Twenty20 semifinal tomorrow, former Protea bowling great Makhaya Ntini has warned.

Proteas bowler Imran Tahir. Picture: AFP

As his 11 wickets – the second-highest in the tournament currently – attests, the leg-spinner has done an excellent job in carrying the attack but South Africa’s second-most prolific bowler in Tests fears the implications should he be nullified.

“If we’re really honest, the Proteas attack can become one-dimensional,” said Ntini.

“Given that JP Duminy hasn’t really come off as the second spinner, Imran is the only guy that provides the variety among all the seamer options. India are good players against spin, he’ll need to continue his form and receive support.”

However, former Protea spinner Paul Harris believes there shouldn’t be many reasons for that happening.

“When you talk about over-reliance on one or two players, you can really say it about most sides. It’s not unique,” he said.

“Imran has really set the tone, I don’t think things will go differently. He’s shown that when his confidence is high, he takes full advantage of that momentum. Imran hasn’t bowled one bad spell to date, he’s going into the game on a real high.”

Ntini added that he’s been impressed by Tahir’s maturity.

“He’s been given freedom by his captains and he’s used it responsibly. What’s been very noticeable is that he’s bowling far more wicket-to-wicket. 90% of his deliveries are hitting good areas. It’s good to see him employing his googly effectively,” he said.

Harris agreed. “His success is down to a mixture of things. He’s not trying to bowl too many variations and his control has stood out. I think T20 cricket really suits him because you can set fields that allow him to attack,” noted the left-arm spinner.

Should things go rocky on the night though, Harris feels the Proteas will cope.

“The bowling attack has been a bit of a revelation. They’ve really adapted well.”

But Ntini’s a tad more wary.

“The stakes are really high. As well as they’ve done, they’ll really need to play clever cricket.”