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6 players who aim to impress down under

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Tim_Paine_Faf_du_Plessis_Australia_South_Africa_ODI_CricketWith the World Cup less than eight months away, South Africa and Australia find themselves in unfamiliar positions. Usually pre-tournament favourites, these two southern hemisphere giants are a long way off challenging England and India at next year’s ODI showpiece.

With a raft of problems both on and off the field plaguing each camp, the upcoming three-match series provides an opportunity to iron out some kinks.

We pick out six players - three from either side - who perhaps have not quite secured a flight to London next year, but could do so with a string of impressive performances in the coming weeks.

Chris Lynn

In David Warner’s absence, and finally free from his recurrent shoulder injury, the big hitting Lynn has a chance to replicate his domestic T20 cricket form and announce himself as an international enforcer.

Fans of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, the Brisbane Heat or the Kandurata Warriors will know just how destructive Lynn can be. In the Indian Premier League, he has scored 875 runs at 35 with a strike rate north of 141, brutalising world class bowling attacks.

He has only ever played one ODI - against Pakistan in 2017 where he scored 16 batting at four - but should get an opportunity over these next three games. If he comes off, even Australia’s cathedrals won’t be big enough.

Reeza Hendricks

AB de Villiers reckons the classy right hander should be given a go at three, and who are we to argue with Mr. 360?

Hendricks earned his place in South Africa’s ODI side the hard way: grafting in domestic cricket and biding his time before more established players (AB included) made way.

He hit the ground running and became the 14th player to knock off a ton on debut, scoring 102 against Sri Lanka in Kandy back in August.

Few in the game possess a more attractive cover drive and though he has been short of runs since that impressive start to his ODI career, he should be given all three games against the Aussies. For a side short on runs, Hendricks’s contribution could be decisive.

Adam Zampa

Once considered a captain’s burden in white ball cricket, wrist spinners are now a potent weapon during the crucial middle overs. In Adam Zampa, Australia have a leggie with the ability to run through a batting line up.

Now 26, and with 31 ODI caps to his name, Zampa will be hoping to shake the reckless image he has garnered and prove his worth. Often mired in unnecessary spats online, the man with the delicious googly will want to let his bowling do the talking.

He has a poor record against South Africa; picking up just 7 wickets at 45 apiece. Tracks back home aren’t always helpful for the slow tweakers in the side, but an impressive performance could provide a platform for greater things next year.

Tabraiz Shamsi
 
In Imran Tahir, South Africa have one of the best equipped and most experienced white ball spinners in world cricket. In Tabraiz Shamsi, they have arguably the most promising deputy in this department and should be giving the well-travelled wrist spinner a run against Australia.

With a wicked wrong ‘un, courage in his flight and an attitude to match, the 28-year-old has the potential to mix it with the very best batsmen in the world.

His 3/36 against Australia in Port Elizabeth in October 2016 offered a glimpse of what he can do. A few more contributions like that should see him shadow Tahir next year.

Glenn Maxwell

It would be a cricketing travesty if this supremely gifted player fails to shine on the big stage. With lighting quick hands, natural athleticism and a keen eye for subtle shifts in the game, Maxwell has all the attributes to be a world beater.

For whatever reason, this has not transpired. A poor IPL this year provided ammunition for his detractors, but with the ball tampering scandal depriving his national side of gun batsmen, Maxwell could restore some of that lost faith against South Africa.

A half-century in a losing cause against Pakistan in a T20 hinted at his potential genius. He’ll need more if he wants to be part of his country’s title defence in England.

Dwaine Pretorius

For a country once blessed with a seemingly endless supply of world class all-rounders, South Africa has undergone a slight drought in this regard. So when young Wiaan Mulder suffered an untimely injury, alarm bells started ringing at the CSA offices in Johannesburg.

Thankfully, Dwaine Pretorius was waiting in the wings. Lanky, with long levers, the Johannesburg native hits a long ball and is the perfect candidate to turn a good score into a great one for the Proteas.

With the ball in hand he regularly lands it on an awkward length from an uncomfortable height and isn’t afraid to roll his wrists over it, trusting his variation on unhelpful tracks.

He is still somewhat down the pecking order - behind Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris - but Ottis Gibson should be handing at least two more caps to Pretorius against Australia. A few mighty blows and crucial wickets to his name and there might be an extra selection headache for the Proteas braintrust.



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Daniel is a freelance sports journalist from Johannesburg who would always rather be watching Test ...

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