Home Sport Cricket Vincent Barnes says Proteas could struggle on Windies pitches

Vincent Barnes says Proteas could struggle on Windies pitches

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The Proteas top-order struggled in the US in their opening three matches held at the Nassau County Ground in New York, where the newly-laid surface offered plenty of assistance to the seam bowlers upfront.

Ryan Rickelton was the leading run-scorer in the Betway SA20 Season 2, before following it up with further good form in the CSA T20 Challenge. File Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

THERE should not be an expectation that run-scoring will increase dramatically now that the Proteas have moved to the Caribbean for the next leg of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, according to former national team assistant coach Vincent Barnes.

Having been on numerous tours to the West Indies – including the 2010 T20 World Cup, when the global jamboree was last held on the tropical islands – Barnes feels that batting will remain a challenge.

The Proteas top-order struggled in the US in their opening three matches held at the Nassau County Ground in New York, where the newly-laid surface offered plenty of assistance to the seam bowlers upfront.

It is hoped that the change of venue – the Proteas face Nepal in St Vincent and Grenadine in their final Group D match on Saturday (1.30am SA time start) – would offer the batters some relief.

“It’s going to be a bit different. If you look at the scores in the US, it was very low. Teams were getting 130, and they were able to defend it,” Barnes said on Thursday.

“The pitches weren’t fair. There was swing and seam movement upfront.

“But moving to the West Indies, people should not start thinking it’s going to be easy to bat on the Caribbean pitches. We’ve seen some of the scores, and it’s not very high scores – bar the Australia and England clash in Barbados.

“It is always going to be tough. It will be low and slow. Spin will also play a part. We have three spinners in our squad, and required just one in New York. We won’t be seeing 200-plus scores, or anything like we saw in the recent IPL.”

Barnes is hoping the Proteas have learnt a few lessons from their 3-0 defeat to the West Indies just prior to the start of the T20 World Cup.

“If you look at the games they played in Jamaica against the West Indies before the World Cup, the Windies almost showed them how to play,” he said.

“Go hard upfront, because the wicket is only going to get slower, whereas in New York, it was the other way around – where you tried to protect the PowerPlay, and preserve wickets for later on.”

Although Proteas coach Rob Walter has indicated that he may give the top-order the opportunity to find some form against Nepal, there has been clamour in some quarters for the promotion of Ryan Rickelton to the starting XI.

Rickelton was the leading run-scorer in the Betway SA20 Season 2, before following it up with further good form in the CSA T20 Challenge.

Barnes, though, is in agreement with Walter that who feels the team should persevere with the current top-order.

“I think that’s still our best batting line-up. I understand that the top three have not scored yet and Rickelton is sitting on the sidelines, but (Aiden) Markram can’t go anywhere – so it has to be one of Quinny (de Kock) or Reeza (Hendricks).

“I feel that’s still our best top three, and they deserve another run against Nepal.”

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