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Proteas mull using two spinners on spin friendly pitches at T20 World Cup

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Having started the tournament with an out-and-out pace attack with Keshav Maharaj the sole front-line spinner in the playing XI, the Proteas think-tank might just flip the plan around and play two spinners, including wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

Tabraiz Shamsi of South Africa may be a key part of the Proteas plans in the ongoing T20 World Cup. File Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

THE PROTEAS are unbeaten thus far in the World Cup in the US and the Caribbean as they won all of their four group stage fixtures, beating Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Bangladesh and Nepal.

These victories have given the side confidence. But most importantly, time in the sun has also awarded the Proteas invaluable first-hand experience of the conditions in the Caribbean.

Having started the tournament with an out-and-out pace attack with Keshav Maharaj the sole front-line spinner in the playing XI, the Proteas think-tank might just flip the plan around and play two spinners, including wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi moving forward due to the spin-friendly surfaces on offer.

This would be to maximise the conditions at play and takes into consideration Shamsi’s good form, having returned a sparkling 4/19 in the one-run-victory over Nepal this past weekend.

This would then mean that captain Aiden Markram and coach Rob Walter would have to drop one fast bowler to create room for Shamsi in the playing XI.

“Shamsi was excellent (against Nepal). It’s fantastic to have him back in the team, to get an opportunity to get some time in the middle, and to bowl the way he did.

“From a bowling point of view, not too many concerns, but a lot of learnings could take place in the other two facets,” said Markram.

“Moving forward, if conditions are going to be like that (spin-friendly), we’d love to pick the both of them. I’ve explained the reason behind the switch between the two of them was to give Shamo (Shamsi) some game time, but if wickets are going to play like that then we back the two of them to be in our XI and to make massive impact for us,” he added.

When you have Quinton de Kock’s power at the top of the batting order paired with Reeza Hendricks’ elegance, a rock-solid Markram at three, followed by Heinrich Klaasen’s brute strength, Tristan Stubbs’ versatility and David Miller’s nerves of steel in one line-up, one would expect consistent 200-plus totals.

However, it just hasn’t been the case for South Africa as they are yet to reach a total upward of 150 thus far, having put up 115 against Nepal, 113 against Bangladesh and 106 against the Netherlands.

In their defence, the conditions in New York and St Vincent and the Grenadines, where South Africa have played, have not been conducive to batting.

With South Africa set to get the Super Eight stage of the competition started on Wednesday at 4.30pm SA time, when they play co-hosts USA at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, the batters will have to find ways to put together competitive totals for the team to have a shot at the illusive trophy.

Markram emphasised that the Super Eights calls for well-rounded performances where batters come to the party just as much as the bowlers have done in the group stages.

“We are looking forward to that phase now of the competition, (we’re) really grateful that we are in the Super Eights and hope that we can put a more complete game of cricket together now that we move forward to the business end of the competition,” said Markram.

“(Winning the World Cup) is a dream. You want to take it game by game and compete as hard and as best as you can and ultimately see where it gets you.”

South Africa face defending champions England on Friday before they conclude the Super Eight stage with a fixture against West Indies on June 24.

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