2019 Cricket World Cup: Key South African players to watch out for
South Africa, commonly known as the Proteas, always have been a squad to watch out for. South African squads over the years, have always posed prospective threat to all the other teams in ICC tournaments and regarded as one of the favourites.
They are also considered to be one of the most successful squads ever. South Africa is the first and only team ever to be tagged Number 1 in all the three formats, at the same time.
The Proteas have always packed a side that would give any opposition a run for their money, but could never make it big. Apart from their Champions Trophy triumph in the year 1998, which was also called as the Knock Out trophy, the team doesn’t have any other palm to show off.
South Africa has gained the tag of “Chokers” ever since their 1999 World Cup defeat, against Australia. The squad has made 4 Semi-final appearances, but have never gone through to the finals. Truth be told, Proteas have always seem to crack under pressure and give away their matches.
Faf Du Plessis will be leading the Proteas side this World Cup. The skipper believes they need to let go of the guilt factor, of not being able to perform in big matches. As usual, the squad is well balanced with experienced players and youngsters.
When it comes to picking the favourites, it’s difficult to pin down one or two because a lot of potential Proteas have been performing consistently in all the three formats and even in the global T20 stages, in the recent times.
QUINTON DE KOCK
Quinton De Kock is one such cricketer, who has looked promising and has been in a very consistent form. The 26 year old is ranked 5 in the ICC ODI ranking and rightly deserves the place with his past and recent form.
With 21 half centuries and 14 centuries in just over 100 matches, the forthcoming batting sensation averages a lofty 45. De Kock will be expected to play a crucial role in guiding the South African batting this tournament.
Another key batsman this season for South Africa, will be Hashim Amla. The seasoned 36 hear old is one of the finest stroke makers to play the game today. The former Test and ODI Number 1 averages 49.75 in the the ODI format, with close to 8000 runs.
This veteran also has 27 centuries and 37 half centuries under his belt.
With all the experienced players taking the lead, young African crickets have had the option to break free and perform without any pressure. One such youngster who has consistently been under the lime light, is Kagiso Rabada.
The 24 year old is having a dream run at present and is one of the most talked about cricketers currently. The right arm quick is ranked at No. 3 in tests and No. 5 in ODI’s. With over 100 wickets in just 66 matches, Rabada will be Africa’s go to bowling option and will be expected to deliver whenever his team needs him.
Not just that, but Rabada is also expected to be a top contender, in the highest wicket takers list this season.
The youngster was, however, recovering from an injury and is expected to dust it off and make a first match appearance, against England on the 30th.
With Dale Steyn ruled out for the first match, the bowling unit and the team suffered a massive blow, as the former Number one bowler had a lot of hopes tied down to him.
The squad's first encounter will be against England, which is also the opening match this season. The question still arises irrespective; If the Proteas continue there ‘choking’ form, or hold on to their nerves and transpire victorious.