| South Africans warm up before practice in East London Wednesday. (Reuters)
East London: Jacques Kallis has pledged to rediscover his form against Canada on Thursday and help inspire his faltering team into the Super Six.
Kallis, normally an explosive allrounder, has yet to fire in the tournament so far but has shrugged off speculation that he is still labouring under the effects of a toe injury he picked up in the nets on the eve of the tournament.
“I’m fully fit and very happy with the way things are going. It’s just a matter of having some luck and things going my way now, but I’m not at all concerned about it,” said Kallis.
“There has been a lot of cricket this season and at times it has been difficult. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I still have that hunger or lust to take wickets and take runs. I suppose it is a big task for me but I enjoy those pressures. There’s nothing new about it.”
Meanwhile, South African captain Shaun Pollock dropped a strong hint they may drop both their spinners, Nicky Boje and Robin Peterson from the XI. None of them impressed in any of the games so far. “It has been discussed that maybe we will go in without a spinner,” Pollock said.
The captain added that opening batsman Graeme Smith could “be an ace up our sleeve” if a spin option was required. Smith has enjoyed success at provincial level as a part-time off-spin bowler.
“If we do go in without our specialist spinners he gives us some variety,” said Pollock.
The host nation, who started the tournament as second favourites behind Australia, need to win their remaining two pool B matches to ensure a place in the Super Six.
After Canada, South Africa will also need to beat Sri Lanka in Durban Monday to prolong their campaign into the second stage.
The Proteas split up after beating Bangladesh in a planned move to give the players a two-day break from the pressures which have been reflected in shaky performances by Shaun Pollock’s team.
In a tournament in which almost every result has had a bearing on the race for qualification for the next stage, South Africa are unlikely to take Canada lightly, especially after the Canadians gave the West Indies a fright at Centurion on Sunday.
Coach Eric Simons will have taken careful note of the way big-hitting John Davison hammered a century off 67 balls against the West Indies — as a result, the South African attack is unlikely to pitch short against him.
He also added to speculation that all-rounder Andrew Hall would become a first-choice in the later stages when the pitches will be more seam-friendly.
He added that Sri Lanka’s shock defeat against Kenya was a wake-up call for favoured teams.
“I think a lot of the so-called more powerful sides have become a bit arrogant in trying to increase their run-rate instead of assuring a win first.
“We’ll go into the game to make sure we get four points, although we want to keep our run rate good.
The hosts’ middle order batsmen are short of match practice with both their wins against Kenya and Bangladesh achieved by ten wickets, with only Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten needed at the crease.
South Africa (from): Shaun Pollock (capt), Mark Boucher, Nicky Boje, Boeta Dippenaar, Allan Donald, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis, Gary Kirsten, Lance Klusener, Charl Langeveldt, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Monde Zondeki.
Canada: Joseph Harris (capt), Ashish Bagai, Ian Billcliff, Desmond Chumney, Austin Codrington, John Davison, Nicholas de Groot, Nicholas Ifil, Davis Joseph, Ishwar Maraj, Ashish Patel, Abdool Samad, Fazil Sattaur, Barry Seebaran, Sanjayan Thuraisingam.
Umpires: Daryl Harper (Aus) and Kevan Barbour (Zim)
Third umpire: Aleem Dar (Pak)
Match Referee: Wasim Raja (Pak).