Opinion: Specialist bowler, not all-rounder, must replace Steyn

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Jonhenry Wilson looks at why Dale Steyn's replacement needs to be a specialist bowler as opposed to an all-rounder. 

It's so pleasing that Duanne Olivier is back in the Test squad - and Lungi Ngidi has been called up. How Olivier made way for Chris Morris in the first place is perplexing.

Dale Steyn's exit to a new injury is entirely disappointing, but the Proteas have to start planning for life without him now. They've hung on in hope for a year, but it's possible we've seen the last of Steyn in Test whites.

His short- or long-term replacement needs to be judged solely on ability with the ball. Morris or Andile Phehlukwayo are not the answer. Both have a part to play, particularly in limited-overs cricket, but must be judged solely as all-rounders.

Olivier and Ngidi don't really have ambition with the bat - and should be left to hone and perfect their seam bowling. They've both got extra pace on Phehlukwayo and Morris, too.

Kagiso Rabada has climbed to the helm of the International Cricket Council rankings for Test bowlers - and that's a fair status. The face of South Africa's fast-bowling future has proved himself time and time again. One hopes he gets the new ball ahead of Morkel or Steyn's replacement in the second Test against India at Centurion.

Faf du Plessis would be a brave man to bat first again if triumphant at the toss. His decision to do so at Newlands almost backfired - and copped plenty of criticism until Philander's lethal spell on day four vindicated the choice.

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Seeing du Plessis and AB de Villiers together out in the middle of the Test arena again was marvelous. This, of course, was complemented by the short-lived presence of Steyn. South Africa's middle order is so much more secure when those two are on the job.

One doesn't really want to get into the age-old debate about batting positions, but perhaps it's time to try du Plessis at three - and bump Hashim Amla down. It's preposterous to think Amla is in danger of losing his spot in the team entirely, but a positional change wouldn't hurt.

A couple of freebie centuries against Bangladesh in September and October last year aside, the veteran right-hander hasn't delivered a Test ton for his country in 20 innings. That was against Sri Lanka, so you have to look as far back as January 2016 for the last time Amla struck a century against top-flight opposition - England.

That 109, however, did come at the same ground South Africa and India will contest the second Test - and Amla needs to rekindle the same Centurion form enjoyed against James Anderson and Stuart Broad then against Bhuvneshwar Kumar and company now.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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