Somebody needs to fire the bunch of mental midgets called the South African cricket selectors. Think about it: they have seen fit to include a proper ODI opening batsman and wicketkeeper in Morne van Wyk so instead of playing him in his natural position up the order, they persist with Captain Crossbat the Arrogant Smith. And then to compound the idiocy of batting van Wyk at seven, they continue to risk a player ranked by many as one of best batsmen and fielders in the world behind the stumps – where he is under constant threat of breaking a finger; Not to mention that van Wyk is a far better keeper.

Hashim Amla's half-century kept South Africa steady against Netherlands on an overcast morning in Mohali © Getty Images

Couple that to the idiocy of playing with Robin “46664” Peterson ahead of both Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Johan Botha and you have a recipe for disaster. As my good friend Andy says, SA is busy doing what Germany did in the 2002 football world cup and what New Zeakand have done in almost every rugby world cup they’ve lost: chopping and changing so much that by the time they get to the sharp end of the competition they have anything but a settled team. But then I guess when your plan is centred around the walking wicket that is Smith, you go into every match with only ten men – make that nine when you include Peterson.

If I were a selector, which I couldn’t be because I haven’t had the requisite frontal lobotomy, my team would be as follows:

Van Wyk (w)
Kallis (c)
De Villiers
Du Plessis

The middle order would have to be malleable to take advantage of the game situation and that could mean moving the explosive Du Plessis up the order on occasion. You notice that I have no place for Captain Crossbat; and that I’ve made the reluctant Kallis my captain. To my mind the best reason for making a player of his class captain is that he doesn’t want the job. The other option would be de Villiers because the added responsibility might just settle him down just a little – he’d certainly be my vice-captain. I also find it unconscionable that a fielder and batsman of his class is wasted (and risked) behind the stumps.

But then I’m dreaming. There is no way the selectors will dispense with the walking wicket so I’d be forced to drop Botha for Captain Crossbat and play Van Wyk at three – which is fine because he would be in before the shine was off the ball anyway. It just seems so dumb to be going into a world cup with only ten world-class players in your match eleven.

If by some miracle, South Africa does manage to finally win a cricket world cup this year it will be in spite of the efforts of the selectors and Captain Crossbat. Indeed, I have no doubt that it will be because of players like de Villiers (if he doesn’t break a finger), Amla, Duminy, Du Plessis and the incredible bowling options we have in Botha, Morkel, Steyn, Tsotsobe and Tahir.


I just had a look at the team list for the match against the Netherlands. Sheer idiocy and arrogance: how can you go into any world cup match with only three bowlers? I almost wish that they get a klap for it but with de Villiers and Amla having set the platform for a 351 total, that’s unlikely. Still, Kallis, du Plessis and Duminy are going to have to turn their arms over to make up for the idiocy of taking 46664 into the game.