Cricket 30.1.2014 06:00 am

McLaren and Parnell in running for king Kallis’ crown

FILE PICTURE: Ryan McLaren Picutre: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images.

FILE PICTURE: Ryan McLaren Picutre: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images.

In the dramatic sense, Ryan McLaren and Wayne Parnell are the frontrunners to fill the Jacques Kallis void in the Proteas Test side after both were included in the 15-man group to face Australia next month.

Strictly speaking though, that’s not really the case – no man currently will be able to photocopy the responsibility the recently retired legend fulfilled in his great career.

Instead, it’s the duo’s opportunity to carve their own niche.

“We always knew that this time was going to come, that we were going to lose Jacques,” admitted national selection convenor Andrew Hudson yesterday.

“So much has been spoken about the balance that Jacques brought to the team. He was multi-disciplined and that makes it really difficult to replace him. What we had to do is look at combinations that can help balance things out again. We’ll never have a guy of his calibre again, so it’s about assembling a line-up where the batting and bowling will do the job.”

Coach Russell Domingo concurred. “We’re not looking for another Jacques Kallis but for a player who produces big performances for the team in his own right,” he said.

South Africa’s imposing batting order – who over the past year have coped well after Kallis went through a batting slump – probably will dictate that the bowling be bolstered.

McLaren’s superbly consistent one-day form counts in his favour but the more mercurial Parnell adds inherent variety with his left-armers.

“Wayne’s done really well for the Warriors, he’s improved his consistency in four-day cricket considerably. The big plus for me is that he’s a leftie and can bowl at 140. He’s more than capable with the bat too and a good all-round package. He’s still young but he can become influential,” said Domingo.

In terms of the batting order shift, Faf du Plessis is the earmarked man to come in at No 4.

“I don’t think it’s a state secret. Faf’s our guy. He got a big hundred there against India at the Wanderers and he’s done well in that position for the Titans. He’s a suitable replacement,” noted Domingo.

Team manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee also allayed concerns over the fitness of captain Graeme Smith (ankle) and AB de Villiers (hand).

Vividly promising Cape Cobras left-arm quick Beuran Hendricks – the leading wicket-taker in the domestic T20 by some margin – and Warriors off-spinner Simon Harmer have also been summoned as non-playing members to gain experience of the team environment.

 

 

 

 

 

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