Perth: South African cricket legend Shaun Pollock believes the under-the-radar Proteas have helped them progress in the ICC T20 World Cup here in Australia, with Themba Bavuma’s side now starting to show some ‘toughness’ and “firepower” as the race for semi-final spots heats up.
The Proteas shared the points with Zimbabwe in their first match after the match was abandoned due to rain, but showed they are made of sterner stuff than the pundits gave them credit for, posting an emphatic win against Bangladesh in Sydney before winning a tense final match against India in Perth.
“The fact that they came in maybe with people who didn’t write them as much as they could have, I think definitely has the 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 some firepower and show some grit and determination,” he added.
ICC Hall of Famer Pollock, who has played 108 Tests, a total of 303 ODIs and 12 T20Is for South Africa, believes the team has achieved perfection in a bid for the trophy in Australia.
Pollock, who was one of the best all-rounders South Africa has produced and a player opponents had to fear after taking 408 white-ball international wickets, rates the team’s attack there as the best.
“As far as bowling is concerned, I was never worried (about South Africa). We have many options for fast bowling. You even have (Marco) Jansen sitting in the side, the four quicks they used (in Perth), plus (Keshav) Maharaj and (Tabraiz) Shamsi,” he said.
“We’ve covered all the bases there.”
Despite the unbeaten start, the former all-rounder feels the team is not the finished product and is looking for a stronger output from the batting department to strengthen South Africa’s bid.
“I think the challenge for South Africa has always been ‘who are the six or seven who are going to perform well from a batting point of view’?” It was a huge blow to lose Rassie van der Dussen before the tournament because he was playing really well.
“I still see room for improvement. Like I said, this win (over India) is a huge boost,” he added.