'Dale is quite a skiddy bowler, on a wicket like this, the thinking was that it wouldn’t suit him much'
'We are a team that will make selections on the pitches that we play on'
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis tells Harish Kotian/Rediff.com why they had to take the big call of dropping the experienced Steyn against minnows Afghanistan.
The big news going into the South Africa - Afghanistan World T20 match, in Mumbai, on Sunday, was the axing of the world’s premiere fast bowler, Dale Steyn.
Steyn was left out after being smashed for 35 runs in two overs in the previous match, in which England chased down a mammoth 230 for victory at the Wankhede stadium.
David Wiese, regarded as a specialist death bowler in T20 cricket, was drafted in his place, but even he struggled on the flat Mumbai wicket, giving away 47 runs in four overs.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis explained why they had to take the big call of dropping the experienced Steyn against minnows Afghanistan.
“The wicket, we obviously played here the other night (against England) and the thinking behind the wicket was that for the seamers it skids on, especially in the first six overs and there is not much swing. And because Dale is quite a skiddy bowler, on a wicket like this, the thinking was that it wouldn’t suit him much,” Du Plessis said, after South Africa’s 37-run victory over Afghanistan.
“It is not the Mumbai wicket where is there a bit of extra pace and bounce, it just skids through so we wanted to bring in a guy like David Wiese, who bowls a bit of variation. The wicket looked a bit brown as well so we thought pace off the ball would help and he also strengthens our batting. So yeah, the right decision for us as a team,” he added.
Steyn recently made a comeback to cricket after a few months out with injury but du Plessis pointed out that their selection is based on the wickets on offer rather than past records.
“He bowled really well in the two games he played against Australia and in the warm-up games he bowled well. But, for us, we are a team that will make selections on the pitches that we play on. Obviously, we move now away from this and we go to the other wickets, so the thinking will change again. We as a team have to be able to adapt to the conditions. Our next game I think is in Nagpur; that wicket has been turning quite a bit so we have to make those decisions based on the wicket there,” he stated.
Du Plessis urged his other bowlers to take a cue from Chris Morris, who claimed four for 27 against Afghanistan, while the other bowlers were taken to the cleaners.
“It’s a little bit of Wankhede issue; the wicket is very good but it is definitely not an excuse. If you bowl well, and Chris Morris showed that today, and bowl with good discipline and good intensity, and you are strong in the way you plan and the way you want to bowl then there is enough for the bowlers to bowl well. I feel the guys as a bowling unit especially here; if you sit back a little bit and if you are scared about what the batsmen is going to do, the batsmen will punish you in the first six overs,” he said.