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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    Wow. If you're Cook, you're delighted to hear that sort of news indicating the sort of mood in the SA camp but as a neutral, it's sad to see. They're going through a phase of transition in the longer format, replacing Kallis/Smith and De Villiers IMO, probably will bow out of Test cricket soon to focus, rightly, on the shorter format in which he excels. Amla as captain reminds me of Mohammed Yousuf's disastrous spells as captain - brilliant batsman, but nowhere near the individual to place the responsibility of captain. But guess I'm pre-judging Amla early, could turn it round.
    It will be a great Test series, I think. Actually, we should play more matches against SA than we currently do. Steyn isn't the force he once was, and they haven't replaced Kallis and Smith anywhere near well enough.
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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    In other news, Mohammed Hafeez and ODI captain for Pakistan, Azhar Ali, have refused to partake in a training camp due to the involvement of Mohammed Amir. Hafeez' probably sour Amir got him out in the BPL recently but he's acting all high and mighty when he'd be no loss to the team if he didn't come back and he's influencing Azhar Ali who is close with.
    I wouldn't even mind if Hafeez stops playing because of Amir, I think he's taken his place for granted far too long. Has no consistency at all and now that he can't bowl... bye bye. Azhar on the other hand is needed, one of only a few experienced players left and can sort of fill the shoes of Misbah/Younis when they retire, he needs to stop following Hafeez blindly and think for himself.

    On the other hand, Amir deserves a second chance. He was caught and has pleaded guilty from day 1. Yes, it'll be hard to regain the trust from some of the other players but tbh, the team needs him, more so now that Irfan hardly plays Test cricket. Plus, why is Sadaf not being groomed to Internation cricket.



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    In other news, bring on Boxing Day! :awesome:

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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    I wouldn't even mind if Hafeez stops playing because of Amir, I think he's taken his place for granted far too long. Has no consistency at all and now that he can't bowl... bye bye. Azhar on the other hand is needed, one of only a few experienced players left and can sort of fill the shoes of Misbah/Younis when they retire, he needs to stop following Hafeez blindly and think for himself.

    On the other hand, Amir deserves a second chance. He was caught and has pleaded guilty from day 1. Yes, it'll be hard to regain the trust from some of the other players but tbh, the team needs him, more so now that Irfan hardly plays Test cricket. Plus, why is Sadaf not being groomed to Internation cricket.

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    Hafeez has been poor for a while IMO - he's not recovered since Steyn tore him a new one a Test series 2012 IIRC. To the extent he doesn't open and bats at three in some formats, not exactly the action of an experienced, senior player. He lives off his Professor nickname too much. Ali's just following Hafeez, he'll come round.

    Amir's bowling, considering he's been out of the game for five years, is incredible. Exactly the same. It's difficult not to ignore him.
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    Boxing Day Tests > Boxing Day football.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Boxing Day Tests > Boxing Day football.
    Not many greater sporting events than a Boxing Day test at the MCG.
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    Speaking of which, Joe Burns will edge out Shaun Marsh in their battle to be picked for the MCG Boxing Day Test apparently.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    SA were woeful. It seemed like, as soon as they lost the first Test, their minds were already on the plane home. Steyn has practically admitted as much, and the defeats for them got more and more heavy as the series went on.
    They were definitely below par. I don't think India were 'amazing' by any means, our bowling was always going to be strong, but our batting was just about good enough. It was sad to see SA play in that way. Never expected it from a team like them. They did have injuries to Steyn and Philander which were massive blows, too.
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    (Original post by moment of truth)
    They were definitely below par. I don't think India were 'amazing' by any means, our bowling was always going to be strong, but our batting was just about good enough. It was sad to see SA play in that way. Never expected it from a team like them. They did have injuries to Steyn and Philander which were massive blows, too.
    Losing those two bowlers you mention makes them just so, so toothless in attack. That's a big shame, really, because they have such a great bowling acumen.

    I'm gutted that Philander and Jimmy Anderson are both missing the Boxing Day Test, to be honest. When you see matches like this (I've waited years for us to face SA again!) you want the best players out there, impressing you and showing their ability, and making it as much of a spectacle as possible.

    Especially with the way Test cricket has gone recently. The NZ/SL and Australia/Windies series just aren't competitive.
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    You guys heard of the new IPL franchises and player purchases
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    (Original post by tazza ma razza)
    You guys heard of the new IPL franchises and player purchases
    Saw Pune had Dhoni, Rahane, Ashwin, Steve Smith and du Plessis. Mental.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Losing those two bowlers you mention makes them just so, so toothless in attack. That's a big shame, really, because they have such a great bowling acumen.

    I'm gutted that Philander and Jimmy Anderson are both missing the Boxing Day Test, to be honest. When you see matches like this (I've waited years for us to face SA again!) you want the best players out there, impressing you and showing their ability, and making it as much of a spectacle as possible.

    Especially with the way Test cricket has gone recently. The NZ/SL and Australia/Windies series just aren't competitive.
    I would say Morkel has been in good form this year and looked really good at times in India, but the other bowlers are too inexperienced even if they have a strong future.

    I agree, you wish both teams were at the strongest for a series like this.

    What are your predictions for the series? Do you think England have a chance to beat SA at home?
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    (Original post by moment of truth)
    I would say Morkel has been in good form this year and looked really good at times in India, but the other bowlers are too inexperienced even if they have a strong future.

    I agree, you wish both teams were at the strongest for a series like this.

    What are your predictions for the series? Do you think England have a chance to beat SA at home?
    I think it's bizarre that England are being given such a strong chance, actually. Indeed, many writers in this country are labelling them as favourites. I think that's wide of the mark, but I expect a tight series. England could easily edge it, because they have that ability, but SA will be a tough proposition and I expect there to only be a Test in it.

    The worrying thing for SA would be their lack of ready-made replacements for Smith/Kallis, and Amla's captaincy being nowhere near the standard the former set.

    They've also got to contend with a Philander injury (though Anderson's absence makes that an easier pill to swallow) and the fact that Steyn's average against England is the lowest of his against any other Test nation.
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    I'll say it now, Tahir/Root/AB will be the players of the series.

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    Guys quick question, who would you rate the better test bowler in history, Mcgrath or Ambrose?
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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    I'll say it now, Tahir/Root/AB will be the players of the series.

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    It'll likely be Root, to be honest.

    I find it amazing that Kingsmead holds this reputation as a daunting place to go for visiting nations, but in reality SA's record is very poor there. They've only won three times in the last decade there.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    It'll likely be Root, to be honest.

    I find it amazing that Kingsmead holds this reputation as a daunting place to go for visiting nations, but in reality SA's record is very poor there. They've only won three times in the last decade there.
    An opportunity for England to get an early lead, if that's the case.

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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    An opportunity for England to get an early lead, if that's the case.

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    Absolutely. Both teams will be aiming to win, but with Steyn's form against England not being the best, I feel the visitors can really approach the Test looking for a victory. The pitch will be a seamer's paradise.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Absolutely. Both teams will be aiming to win, but with Steyn's form against England not being the best, I feel the visitors can really approach the Test looking for a victory. The pitch will be a seamer's paradise.
    Let's hope so, Anderson will be surely missed I reckon. Broad needs to step up.

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    Only question is Hales' acumen at two for me. Whether he has the minerals to go toe-to-toe with Steyn and impress alongside Cook, I don't know. I think a lot of people are hoping, and expecting, him to fail. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't see out the series as Cook's partner, with Compton moved into replace him. We shall see, though.

    Cricket is a funny game.
 
 
 
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