What Is The Name Of The World Cup Trophy South Africa Vs England Preview

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South Africa Vs England Preview

A short South Africa vs England preview that looks at the possible outcomes of the 2 Twenty20s, the 5 ODIs and the 4 test matches. England’s tour of South Africa begins in earnest today in Johannesburg with the first of two T20 internationals. This is the amuse bouche from the trip before the hors d’oeuvre of five one-day internationals and a juicy main course of four Tests, starting with the first Test at Centurion on 16 December.

Andrew Strauss’ side have a tough assignment in all three formats to get past a strong South African side who are ranked the best Test team in the World, and who before their woeful performance in the Trophy Champions also top the ODI rankings. also. The Tests are certainly promising. Will England be able to build on the rather fortunate Ashes victory and repeat their success on the high field of 2004/05? Alas, the Tests are still some way off, so today’s focus is on previewing the pyjamas of the trip.

A bouche of amusement

A sign of England’s shortage in the T20 game is that reports suggest they are anxiously waiting to see if sore throat sufferer Alastair Cook will be fit enough to take his place in the line-up today. As for Cook what other international team (or even county) would care too much if he wasn’t in their T20? Chris Gayle, Graeme Smith or Virender Sehwag sure, but not Cook. England are further weakened by the absence of Kevin Pietersen, who is being saved for the ODI series, and shoulder injury victim Stuart Broad, giving a patchwork look to the side which will be led by Paul Collingwood in Strauss’ absence.

Fortunately, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Graham Onions have all been declared fit after their injury concerns and are all likely to take their place in the XI. Onions impressed Mickey Arthur during the recent Champions Trophy with the South African coach telling The Wisden Cricketer that Onions “…is a similar place for Harmison”. Impressively, Arthur went on to say “Harmy would have been a handful and many of our batsmen are happy he is not coming…”

With the need to build momentum early and another T20 World Cup looming next spring in the Caribbean, the T20 series takes on more importance than it would otherwise. Assuming Cook is fit to take his place at the top of the order with Joe Denly – hardly a pair to take advantage of the fielding restrictions in the first six overs, England are likely to do the same as follows with the final pick comes down to Adil Rashid or Tim Bresnan:

Cook, Denly, Jonathan Trott, Collingwood (C), Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Luke Wright, Rashid/Bresnan, Swann, Anderson and Onions.

In terms of prediction, one cannot see beyond a comfortable 2-0 win for the Proteas, lest it be forgotten they were the most impressive team in the World T20 before they attacked in the semi-final against Pakistan.

Hors d’oeuvre

The Champions Trophy win against South Africa suggests that England should have a better chance in the ODI series that follows. The innings will certainly be significantly strengthened with the return of Strauss and Pietersen and hopefully Broad will return to strengthen the bowling and the balance of the side.

However, a note of caution may be necessary. South Africa may consistently underperform and sometimes stutter in major ICC limited-overs tournaments like the World Cup and Champions Trophy, but they are a formidable team with an excellent record in one-day series especially at home . Even the victorious England Test team in 2004/05 were easily beaten 4-1 by the Proteas in the one-day series that followed the Tests; despite three centuries from Pietersen. Any side that includes Smith, Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, AB De Villiers, Albie Morkel and Dale Steyn is going to be very difficult to beat on their own patch.

However, despite the obvious strength of the Proteas, England should really be striving to make the ODI series a close contest, even if they are likely to lose 3-2 or 4-1. Assuming Broad returns and England will want to retain some flexibility in their bowling line-up, the following line-up could be the strongest available for Strauss and Andy Flower:

Strauss (C), Trott, Pietersen, Collingwood, Morgan, Prior, Wright, Broad, Swann, Anderson and Onions.

This means that Denly would be unlucky to miss out. On the other hand if Strauss and Flower are comfortable with Collingwood as the fifth bowler, then Denly could come back in for Wright.

The fun begins.

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