C365 Player of the Week: BJ Watling
Giving South Africa paceman Dale Steyn, the world's premier bowler, our Player of the Week gong would certainly be a valid choice, given his eight wickets in PE and his 13 scalps in the series against New Zealand.
Giving South Africa paceman Dale Steyn, the world's premier bowler and a favourite with people who like to <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket' class='instorylink'>bet on cricket</a>, our Player of the Week gong would certainly be a valid choice, given his eight wickets in Port Elizabeth, and his 13 scalps in the series against New Zealand.
Or I could give it to Proteas batsman Dean Elgar, for his maiden Test ton of 103 not out. Also well-deserving would be Faf du Plessis, whose Test average now sits at a sexy 111.25 after four matches.
But I'm going to give it to BJ Watling, of the aforementioned New Zealanders, even though he scored no centuries on the tour and his side got thrashed. This may seem like a very odd decision, but hear me out.
Because New Zealand's batsmen are so horrendously bad these days, it didn't really seem like 'Julio' had to do much to get them out. Obviously, that's not really true, but it just looked so effortless, like he was bowling to a second string county side.
But Watling, whose real name is Bradley John and should really go by 'Brad', had to bat against Steyn, and survived. His task was the more difficult one, coming up against the best pace attack on the planet, and he scored 63 twice in one game a feat that surprised bookmakers like <a href='http://www.paddypower.com' class='instorylink'>Paddy Power</a> whose odds suggested consecutive half centuries were impossible.
The Durban-born player, in the side in place of another former South African, Kruger van Wyk, only played three Tests in 2012, and was under pressure to perform after getting a duck in the first innings in Cape Town. To be fair, everyone else did too, so…
The little wicketkeeper batted for 517 minutes over the course of two Tests, and in the second match at St George's Park he scored his 63's in 133 and 168 minutes respectively. That's a long time in the middle compared to the rest of his team, aside from Dean Brownlie.
So for being the only player to do well against the Proteas pacemen, not just once but three times in four innings, the nuggety batsman gets our award. He wasn't shy about it either, and hit the bad balls when they arrived, showing technique as well as temperament.
Honourable mentions obviously go to Steyn, Elgar, Faf and Hashim Amla, who also got a century in PE, as well as Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne, whose century helped his side level the ODI series against Australia.
PS: I know Watling moved to New Zealand when he was 10, I mention his place of birth due to the location and opposition in question. Back in your cages, Kiwis!
<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>
International Cricket Council
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