And the award for the most talented death bowler in South African cricket goes to … Sisanda Magala.
Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt on Wednesday made this interesting admission, but the irony is that the stalwart Warriors seamer isn’t part of the T20 squad for the upcoming series against Australia.
The burly Magala had been included for the white-ball assignments against England, only to continually drop out due to not meeting the national side’s fitness standards.
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However, it does provide a glimpse of the potential that saw the selection panel pick him in the first place, particularly with South Africa’s lack of death bowling prowess being under the spotlight following the series against the English.
“I think everyone we’ve selected recently has the potential to do the job for us,” Langeveldt said at the Wanderers, where the first game of the series starts on Friday evening.
“For me, a guy like Sisanda is probably one of our better candidates. Just from seeing him bowl in the nets, he’s the most confident when it comes to bowling yorkers. From what we’ve seen in other games, he’s calm and collected under pressure.”
Langeveldt though admits that the debate over the Proteas’ ability to be effective during the end overs is based on potential rather than proven class because South African bowlers simply aren’t exposed to enough pressure situations at franchise level.
“We probably should’ve defended our big score (222/6) in the final game against England, but in saying that, not a lot of our players are placed into a similar position at franchise level where the opposition actively put you under pressure,” he said.
“It’s a huge concern for me. It’s not good enough. In World Cups, you are going to get a lot of games like that. And if I look around the country, domestic cricket, the close games aren’t like it used to be.”
Yet if franchise cricket can’t adequately prepare players for the rigours of T20 batting at the death, what can be done?
“You can teach the guys to practice bowling well at the death in the nets, but it’s a different matter when you’re under pressure in a game. All of the bowlers were sent home with the instruction to up their intensity. I don’t want to call it homework. I just want them to find their own way of bowling under pressure and execute,” said Langeveldt.