When you see a batting line-up that has names like Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, you’d be forgiven for thinking the side doesn’t really need anybody else. With a bulky top order, South Africa has the kind of team that can get away with taking a few risks in their balance lower down.
Since the start of 2013, South Africa have won 24 of the 41 ODIs they have played; that thinking is probably justified. The only thing that’s different now is the fact that Jacques Kallis no longer play international cricket. The mild panic over his absence has been more of a sentimental one than a cricketing one, though. Since 2013, Jacques Kallis played just seven ODIs for South Africa and he played in just four wins.
In essence, then, Kallis has been missing from the South African one-day team for a long time and while much debate has hinged on how to go about replacing him, the team seems to have done just fine in the instances where he was not present. Much talk has hinged around how to replace the bowling side of Kallis, but he did not bowl in the last five ODIs he played for South Africa. In the two games preceding that, he bowled three and eight overs respectively. Essentially, then, South Africa has already been working on a plan to replace him since before he even retired.
But South Africa still seems somewhat lopsided at times, although this is more hinged on having become so accustomed to Kallis’ presence, rather than an actual reality. Tuesday’s ODI against New Zealand had Ryan McLaren down to bat at seven.
McLaren has evolved as a bowler recently, but he is yet to prove himself as a number seven batsman. It’s not a completely strange thing to have a player like McLaren stroll in at number seven. For many teams, this has become the reality of modern-day one day cricket.
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