South African cricket legend Shaun Pollock feels the Proteas flying under the radar all along has helped them in their progress in the ICC T20 World Cup here in Australia, with Temba Bavuma’s side now starting to show a bit of “grit” and “firepower” as the race for the semifinal spots intensifies.
The Proteas shared the points with Zimbabwe in their opening game after the match was abandoned due to rain, but have shown they are made of sterner stuff than what the experts give them credit for, scoring an emphatic win against Bangladesh at Sydney, before winning a tight final-over contest against India in Perth.
“The fact that they’ve come in maybe with people not writing them up as much as they could, I think there’s definitely been an effect of South Africa trending in the right direction,” Pollock said in the latest edition of the ICC Review.
“We’ve seen them over the last 18 months start to show a little bit of firepower and start to show some grit and determination,” he added.
ICC Hall of Famer Pollock, who played 108 Tests, a whopping 303 ODIs and 12 T20Is for South African, believes the team is timing their run to perfection in a bid for the trophy in Australia.
Pollock, who was one of the top allrounders South Africa has produced and a bowler to be feared by the rivals having taken 408 international white-ball wickets, rates the team’s attack up there with the best.
“Bowling-wise, I’ve never been concerned (for South Africa). We’ve got plenty of fast bowling options. You even got a (Marco) Jansen sitting on the sidelines, the four quicks that they used (in Perth), plus (Keshav) Maharaj and (Tabraiz) Shamsi,” he said.
“We’ve got all bases covered there.”
Despite the undefeated start, the former all-rounder feels the side is not the finished product, and looks for stronger output from the batting department to solidify South Africa’s bid.
“I think the challenge for South Africa has always been, ‘which are the six or seven that are going to come good from a batting perspective’? And it was a huge blow to lose Rassie van der Dussen before the tournament because he had played superbly well.
“I can still see a possibility of an improvement. As I say, this victory (over India) is a huge boost,” he added.