Door is open for bowlers - Kirsten

Thursday, 1 September 2011

There is a nice opportunity for three or four young seamers to step up to the plate and announce that they are ready for international competition in the colours of the Proteas.
So says South African coach Gary Kirsten, who ran the rule over a squad of 28 nationally contracted and fringe players at a pre-season camp at Arabella, near Kleinmond, this week.
Referring to the relative inexperience of the fast bowlers below the national side’s current new-ball pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Kirsten said: “There are a few guys we have identified. They are all here (at the camp) and they are aware of the opportunity”.
At the front of the queue in Tests would be players like incumbent Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Wayne Parnell and Ryan McLaren, but whoever emerges as the man for the long-term will face a busy couple of years due to the Proteas’ full programme. And the key would be settling down as soon as possible at top level.
Ideally Kirsten would have liked more time with the national squad ahead of the season, but he has consoled himself with the fact that 13 of the country’s top players will be getting in some action in the Champions League T20 tournament which starts in India later this month.
Kirsten was speaking yesterday at a golf day at Arabella.
“It would have been nice to have more time to prepare before our first T20 match against Australia (at Newlands on October 13),” Kirsten said. “But 13 of the players from the list for this camp will be playing in the CLT20.”
South Africa will be represented in the tournament by the Cape Cobras and the Warriors, the champions and runners-up in last season’s domestic Pro20, and they could theoretically be occupied in India until October 9 when the CLT20 final is scheduled. Apart from the Cobras and Warriors players engaged in the tournament, others like Jacques Kallis (Kolkata), AB de Villiers (Bangalore) and Albie Morkel (Chennai) will be in action there too, for their Indian Premier League franchises.
The Australian tour starts with two T20 matches, which are followed by three ODIs and two Tests.
Kirsten said that although the run-in to the start of the international programme for the 2011-12 season would be disjointed due to the CLT20, the situation would just have to be managed well.
Plenty of fitness work, discussions and briefings took place at the camp, the first of Kirsten’s tenure.
“The camp has been a good learning curve for me, understanding where everyone is and how things have worked in the past,” said Kirsten. “We’ve had a lot of time to discuss and map the way forward and what systems we should put in place.”
With the international programme putting much stress on players, Kirsten seems keen to make rotation of players part of his plan.
“It is important to manage players if you want to get the best out of them, and sometimes a rotation system may be important,” the coach said.
Referring to premier batsman and all-rounder Kallis, Kirsten obviously feels that there is plenty more left in the 35-year-old’s tank. “Jacques must just be used wisely. he’s earned the right to be used wisely. He is a two-in-one player and there has been a tendency to over-use him because he brings great balance to a team.
“We’ve discussed the notion of being used wisely with him.”
Speaking of England’s ascent to No 1 spot in the Test rankings, Kirsten said the fact that teams like Australia and Sri Lanka were in transition was exciting for world cricket. “Every team has a chance now, they are all competitive. You must treat all teams with respect.”


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