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‘Worst SA bowling attack in 40 years’

East London: South Africa’s World Cup hopes, already in the balance after two wins and two defeats, suffered another setback when national selector Pat Symcox described the team’s bowling attack as the worst in 40 years.

Symcox, a former Test spinner who was made a selector last year following the crushing defeat at the hands of the Australians, made the unflattering remark in the Afrikaans newspaper.

National convenor of selectors, Omar Henry, said that he will meet Symcox to hear his views first hand. “I haven’t spoken to him yet but I’m not at all surprised (that he made the comment),” Henry told the SAPA news agency.

“We knew from the outset that Pat wears two hats — a media hat and a selector’s hat. When you are in that situation basically anything can happen.”

Henry, however, did not dispute the sentiment expressed by Symcox who doubles up as a TV commentator and newspaper columnist during the World Cup.

“It’s no secret we have a problem with our bowling. He’s entitled to an opinion,” said Henry. “The question is why did Pat say it and, secondly, is it a good thing for South African cricket that he did say it'”

The selectors, it appears, are at least in agreement over Allan Donald with Henry saying that the veteran bowler, who was dropped for the win over Bangladesh, would play against Canada here on Thursday.

Donald, 36, has endured a wretched World Cup having already been dropped from the team twice. “A lot of people have been telling me this week how I should be bowling and in the nets I have felt very relaxed,” said Donald who was denied the opportunity of answering his growing army of critics on his home ground of Bloemfontein, where South Africa crushed Bangladesh by ten wickets on Saturday.

“Things went well in practice and hopefully I will get another chance to put it right out there on the pitch. In a perfect world, I would be playing but the team comes first and they all did a great job.”

Donald had been under fire for his performances in the tournament after conceding 54 runs in nine overs against the West Indies and 52 against New Zealand from 5.5 overs with just one wicket to his name.

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