Luam Ackermann previews the Proteas’ ODI series against England and makes his prediction.
After a 2-0 Test series win over England, the Proteas will head into the ODI series with plenty of confidence and will be looking to usurp their hosts as the new number ones in the shorter format as well.
AB de Villiers continues as the skipper of the team, while veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis gets a break as the Proteas look ahead to the T20 World Championships.
But players like Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who missed out on the Test series, and Wayne Parnell will be champing at the bit to get stuck into the English. Proteas coach Gary Kirsten will want a strong bowling attack to prevent England’s batmen cutting loose and the depth in the squad is enviable.
Big-hitting all-rounder Albe Morkel, Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar will also be relishing some time in the middle with Morkel and Du Plessis getting little game-time on the tour to date.
For England, there is still no sign of Kevin Pietersen, and despite the protestations from the England camp, the debate surrounding the South African-born batsman will not help the team going into this series.
The last time South Africa toured England in 2008 they were hammered 4-0 and with England currently ranked number one, they are not going to be pushovers. If the Proteas win this series they move up to number one in ODI rankings and like the Test series and that will add some additional spice to what already promises to be a fiery encounter.
Keep an eye on: Hashim Amla has been in superb form in the Test series and is likely to fire in the shorter format as well, while Albe Morkel is bound to go big at the tail-end of the innings. Lonwabo Tsotsobe will be keen to show why he is the number one ranked bowler in the world and after being shelved for the Test series, he will come out firing.
Prediction: The Proteas will be riding high on confidence going into this series, but beyond that, they are a well-balanced side with match-winners in every department. The English may have won the last series, but both teams are very different, both in personnel and mentality. With that in mind, I am going for a 4-1 win for the Proteas.