Open letter to SA Cricket – fix the middle order
After the match yesterday, where we were once again knocked out of a cricket world cup. Mike Haysman, asked Kepler Wessels, why does this always happen. I was disappointed in the answer and will not even list it here.
The answer is simple, as South African cricket supporters we idolize the opening batsman and the open bowlers, and then cram the side with all sorts of all rounders, hoping that a cricket side will make. We do not concentrate on the middle order.
I look at the great cricket sides and what is a common thread? A strong, dedicated middle order, and here is the funny part, we have one?
So what is wrong? Well the problem is that we are so used to making our batmen that can bowl a bit, bowl, we have forgotten why they are there. JP, Faf and Colin Ingram are excellent middle order batsman. But we go on about how well they bat? And there are more that have not even made this side. If you look at the matches won the middle order have always done an important job.
The English and Aussie sides do well because the players know their role. A middle order batsman is not a batsman that bowls; he is a batsman. If they do bowl, it should be for less than 4 overs, unless they are having a blinder. Look at India’s success with Yurav.
We need to have a middle order specialist teaching the middle order how to think (not play, that they know). But learn how to play in a way that they can adapt. The middle order player needs to be adaptable. When the top order fire, they need to finish off a game, when the top order collapse they need to build a game, and all the scenarios in between.
Until we have a Paul Collingwood or Michael Bevan or Michael Hussey we will not win a world cup! Oh and guess what the famous 438 game Jacque Kallis batted 5, and Boucher 6 – a middle order that steer the game home!