Vincent Barnes: Proteas bowlers must use variations in Caribbean T20 World Cup games

Ottniel Baartman utilised the conditions in New York to good effect, but may have to mix things up in the Caribbean. Photo: AFP

Ottniel Baartman utilised the conditions in New York to good effect, but may have to mix things up in the Caribbean. Photo: AFP

Published Jun 14, 2024


The Proteas bowlers will need to adapt quickly to the contrasting conditions in the Caribbean, says former national team assistant coach Vincent Barnes.

The bowling unit, particularly the seamers, enjoyed the surface in New York, where the Proteas were based for the first leg of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The newly-laid pitch at the Nassau Park Ground produced variable bounce, which made it hard for the batters to score runs against the new ball.

Anrich Nortjé and Ottniel Baartman, in particular, utilised the conditions to full effect with eight and five wickets respectively.

Barnes, who has been on numerous tours to the West Indies – including the 2010 T20 World Cup, when the global jamboree was last held on the tropical islands – feels the bowlers will be forced to go to their change-up deliveries when the Proteas face Nepal at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent and Grenadine tomorrow (1.30am SA time start).

“Hard lengths were the dangerous balls in the States,” Barnes told Independent Newspapers yesterday.

“Bowlers almost didn’t need to resort to yorkers at the death, as it was almost easier to hit. Variations are going to play a major part, and you will see bowlers resort to cutters more often.”

While the bowlers will not have it all their own way like in New York, Barnes does not think that batting will necessarily be easier in the Caribbean.

“It is going to be a bit different. If you look at the scores in the US, it was very low. Teams were getting 130, and they were able to defend it,” Barnes said.

“The pitches weren’t fair. There was swing and seam movement up front. But moving to the West Indies, people should not start thinking it’s going to be easy to bat on the Caribbean pitches.

“We have seen some of the scores, and it’s not very high scores – bar the Australia and England clash in Barbados. It is always going to be tough. It will be low and slow. Spin will also play a part. We have three spinners in our squad, and required just one in New York.

“We won’t be seeing 200-plus scores, or anything like we saw in the recent IPL.”

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Barnes hopes the Proteas have learnt a few lessons from their 3-0 defeat to the West Indies just prior to the start of the T20 World Cup.

“If you look at the games they played in Jamaica against the West Indies before the World Cup, the Windies almost showed them how to play,” he said.

“Go hard up front, because the wicket is only going to get slower, whereas in New York, it was the other way around – where you tried to protect the PowerPlay, and preserve wickets for later on.”

Although Proteas coach Rob Walter indicated that he may give the top order the opportunity to find some form against Nepal, there has been clamour in some parts for the promotion of Ryan Rickelton to the starting XI.

Rickelton was the leading run-scorer in the Betway SA20 Season 2, before following it up with further good form in the CSA T20 Challenge.

Barnes, though, agrees with Walter that the current top order should be persevered with.

“I think that’s still our best batting line-up. I understand that the top three hasn’t scored yet and Rickelton is sitting on the sidelines, but (Aiden) Markram can’t go anywhere, so it has to be one of Quinny (de Kock) or Reeza (Hendricks),” he said.

“I feel that’s still our best top three, and they deserve another run against Nepal.”