Are England Playing Today In The World Cup South Africa Vs England Preview

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South Africa Vs England Preview

South Africa vs England preview which deals with the possible results of 2 Twenty20, 5 ODI and 4 Test matches. England’s tour of South Africa begins in earnest today in Johannesburg with the first of two T20 internationals. It is amuse bouche itineraries before appetizer of five one-day internationals and a juicy main course of four Tests, starting with the first Test at Centurion on December 16.

Andrew Strauss’ side have an uphill task in all three formats to topple a strong South African side who are ranked number one in the world Test rankings and who were also top of the ODI rankings before their woeful performance in the Champions Trophy. also. Tests are certainly a tempting prospect. Can England bounce back from a relatively fortunate Ashes triumph and repeat their success on the high veldt of 2004/05? Unfortunately, the tests are still a long way off, so today we’re focusing on showing off the pajama part of the tour.

Amuse bouche

A sign of England’s lack of T20 play is that reports suggest they are anxiously waiting to see whether neck pain victim Alastair Cook will be fit to take his place in the line-up today. As for Cook, what other international (or even county) side would be too worried about him not being in their T20 squad? Chris Gayle, Graeme Smith or Virender Sehwag for sure, but not Cook. England are further weakened by the absence of Kevin Pietersen, who is being saved for the ODI series, and shoulder injury victim Stuart Broad, giving a side that will be led by Paul Collingwood in Strauss’s absence a patchwork look.

Fortunately, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Graham Onions have all been declared fit after injury concerns and are all likely to take their places in the playing XI. Onions impressed Mickey Arthur during the recent Champions Trophy with the South African coach telling The Wisden Cricketer that Onions “…is like a replacement for Harmison”. Arthur eloquently continued that “Harmy would be a handful and a lot of our batsmen are glad he’s not coming…”

With the need to build momentum soon and another T20 World Cup on the horizon next spring in the Caribbean, the T20 series takes on more importance than it would otherwise. Assuming Cook is able to take his place at the top of the order with Joe Denly – hardly a pair to take advantage of fielding restrictions in the first six races – England are likely to line up as follows, with the final choice going to: Adil Rashid or Tim Bresnan:

Cook, Denly, Jonathan Trott, Collingwood (C), Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Luke Wright, Rashid/Bresnan, Swann, Anderson and Onions.

In terms of prediction, one cannot see more than a comfortable 2-0 win for the Proteas, who, let’s not forget, were the most impressive team at the World T20 before imploding in the semi-final against Pakistan.

Appetizers

The Champions Trophy win against South Africa suggests that England should have a better chance in the ODI series that follows. Certainly the batting will be greatly boosted by the return of Strauss and Pietersen and hopefully Broad will return to strengthen the bowling and balance of the side.

However, a caveat may be in order. South Africa may consistently underperform and sometimes stifle in big limited-overs ICC tournaments like the World Cup and Champions Trophy, but they are a formidable side with excellent results in one-day series, especially at home. Even England’s victorious 2004/05 Test side were easily beaten 4–1 by the Proteas in the one-day series that followed the Tests; despite three centuries from Pietersen. Any side that includes Smith, Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, AB De Villiers, Albie Morkel and Dale Steyn will be extremely difficult to beat on their own patch.

However, despite the apparent strength of the Proteas, England should really be aiming for a tight ODI series, even if they are likely to lose 3-2 or 4-1. Assuming Broad returns and England want to retain some flexibility in their bowling line-up, this line-up could be the strongest available to Strauss and Andy Flower:

Strauss (C), Trott, Pietersen, Collingwood, Morgan, Prior, Wright, Broad, Swann, Anderson and Onions.

That means Denly would be sadly missed. On the other hand, if Strauss and Flower are happy with Collingwood as the fifth bowler, then Denly could go back for Wright.

The fun begins.

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