Opinion: Amla either opens or doesn’t play

Blog Opinion

South Africa have unveiled their 15-man squad for the World T20, taking place in India next month, and they are tasked with yet another quest to end the infamous drought and bring home an ICC trophy.

There were no major surprises in the touring party, unless you are a big fan of the Morkel brothers, Albie and Morne, who were both left out.

The lanky Morne has not been part of the Proteas' plans in the shortest format for a while and all-rounder Albie has gone to countless global tournaments on the back of good domestic form (at home and in the IPL) and flattered to deceive.

The one interesting area of discussion about the team could be right at the top of the batting order, with Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and a certain AB de Villiers all going along.

Sense has prevailed in that De Villiers, according to captain Faf du Plessis and coach Russell Domingo, will open the batting in India, which leaves a conundrum for the brains trust to decide who his partner should be.

De Kock has been sensational in the current ODI series against England and should take his place alongside De Villiers at the top of the order.

Of course that would mean no place for Amla in the starting team as he either opens or doesn't play. It is as simple as that! Or is it?

For to long South African cricket has been stuck in a conservative thought pattern when you hear things like: 'We don't want to expose our best batsman to the new ball, that's why he is batting at five.'

The Proteas are not going to the tournament as one of the favourites and that might just be the tonic the team needs to just break the shackles and go for it. Having a 'steady' opener seems boring and counter-productive.

And this not a parting shot at the wonderful player Amla is, he has strike-rate of almost 90 in ODI cricket and a more than respectable 122 in T20Is, but just what is the best way to play at this particular tournament?

De Kock and De Villiers in full flow together at the crease will be hard to match by any of the other teams, and will leave opposition bowlers having sleepless nights.

Supporters will also hope that if the Proteas lose one game early in the competition they will not go into their shell and 'go back to basics' because that has not worked since 1992.

Nasri Alexander