Lance pat for India pacers
Lance Klusener didn’t have too many problems dealing with India pacers till Zaheer Khan bamboozled him in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy semi-final in Colombo.
But considering how the Indian quicks are dominating nowadays, the former South Africa all-rounder, one of the best of his times, is more than impressed.
The pacers who have impressed him the most are Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, with Klusener calling them both “as lethal as the other”.
“Both of them are different type of bowlers. Bumrah is very unique in the way he bowls, while Shami is a little bit more traditional.
“But if I have to choose one, I will probably go with Bumrah because he is a bit more unconventional.
“In my days, India had just Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath. But Bumrah and Shami have really been fantastic and both are as lethal as the other. Bumrah, maybe a little bit more, but not much to differentiate between the two,” Klusener, Player of the Series in the 1999 World Cup and currently coach of Afghanistan, told The Telegraph from Durban.
“Overall, India’s pace attack has been fantastic. I know there has been a lot of focus on trying to develop fast bowlers in India. They travelled to South Africa (in 2018) with four seamers and all of them fired.
“India are enjoying the fruits of investing in their fast bowlers. It can serve as an example to other countries as well… That it pays dividends if you invest your time and money into a certain department.
“In a couple of years, you can certainly see even bigger benefits,” Klusener added.
Klusener agreed that Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander — leading bowlers in the current South Africa squad — haven’t been able to fire as expected.
“They haven’t been as consistent as they were supposed to be. Don’t know why.
“Philander, maybe because he is coming off a long lay-off. But no excuses...
Lay-offs freshen you up, but they don’t necessarily harden you up. He (Philander) is not quite like a Dale Steyn, who got better and better the more he bowled.
“Besides, Philander has lost a little bit of zip. And once you get down to bowling at 120-125kph, you really struggle on those Indian wickets. Such speeds can be handy in English conditions or on a wicket like that of Cape Town, but not on Indian pitches,” Klusener pointed out.
Elaborating on what seems to be ailing South African cricket at present, Klusener, who was a member of the Proteas support staff for the T20I series against India that preceded the Tests, said: “Look, there’s no place to hide in Test cricket. That’s when you feel the retirements of the big players, like an AB de Villiers or a Hashim Amla, pinch.
“In T20s, you can still get away with a bit of inexperience and somehow plug in the holes, but you just can’t do that in Test cricket.
“There’s a fair bit of inexperience in the South African batting order. We saw in the first Test (in Visakhapatnam) two guys (Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock) scoring a hundred each and yet they still lost the game badly. So, as I said, there’s no place to hide in Test cricket and that’s where you see the inexperience.”
Asked if the Kolpak deal too drained talent away from South Africa, Klusener said: “Yes, to a degree. But you also have to take into account that most of the guys who agreed to that deal weren’t quite regulars in the international scene at that time. It was an opportunity for them.
“Cricket has moved on a little bit from where it was… Maybe there is an opportunity to somehow change the rules of Kolpak or whatever it is.
“It may not be for Test cricket, but for one-day cricket, maybe the two Boards (CSA and ECB) can come to some sort of agreement that gives players the opportunity to come back because there is a lot of talent overseas that we can’t use.”