Spin seems to be South Africa’s mantra to break their World Cup jinx. As if the presence of five spinners in a squad with the most potent pace attack at the World Cup wasn't surprising enough, the Proteas went a step ahead on Monday by declaring they could field three frontline spinners in certain matches.
“It’s indeed unusual to see so many spinners in our squad. It's quite interesting, and hopefully we will have all three frontline spinners playing in some games,” SA off spinner Johan Botha said, ahead of Thursday's opening game here against the West Indies.
That would be very bold of South Africa, whose main weapon has always been pace. In the past, they have been reluctant to use even a second spinner. However, the Proteas played all three frontline spinners in their comprehensive warm-up game victory over Australia in Bangalore.
Botha, the off-spinner, sees merit in fielding three spinners. “It depends on conditions on the given day and who are we playing against. All three of us can bowl in power plays. If you have that luxury, I think you can play three spinners.” Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson is a very accurate bowler. The third, leg-spinner Imran Tahir is very talented.
Botha said the teams can push through the overs rather quickly with spinners bowling in tandem. "By the time the other team sizes up the situation, spinners have already pushed in ten to 15 overs," he said.
Botha hinted there won't be just more of the same, but they would also come hard and aggressively at the batsmen. Normally, for South Africa, spinners do the holding job while the fast bowlers go for wickets. Botha is game for a reversal of roles at the World Cup. “We will look to be far more attacking. Unlike in South Africa, where fast bowlers pick up most wickets, we will go after the wickets here,” he said.
That South Africa have a potent pace attack in Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel should help.