Robin Peterson hasn’t had much chance to play a big part in the bowling given the way the current Proteas’ bowling strike force has performed. The spinner, however, knows his time will come. Meanwhile, he reckons he has the best seat in the house, watching the best bowling attack he has ever been part of. By ANT SIMS.
After thumping Pakistan in the first Test at the Wanderers almost 10 days ago, the South African national cricket team are now preparing for the second Test starting at Newlands on Thursday. The Proteas hit Monday’s training hard, but a few of them had already stared preparations six days ago.
Robin Peterson, Rory Kleinveldt, Jacques Rudolph and Alviro Petersen all stepped out to play for their respective franchises in the final round of South Africa’s domestic competition.
Petersen scored a century, Rudolph didn’t do much, Marchant de Lange returned to action taking four wickets, Kleinveldt struggled to pick up just one wicket and Peterson bagged two sticks.
Peterson’s franchise, the Cobras, clinched the four-day competition title and the spinner believes getting time out in the middle is crucial, especially considering he’s only bowled 59 overs in the last three Tests he’s played.
“I really wanted to play over the weekend. It’s sometimes no fun being the spinner in South Africa, especially when you go through periods where you don’t even bowl. It was important for me to get some bowling time and I really enjoy playing for the Cobras so I wanted to tick two boxes before the next Test,” Peterson said.
Peterson’s lack of bowling time with the national team has been largely thanks to a purple patch from which the South African attack is currently reaping a bountiful harvest. With Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander as spearheads, the Proteas are starting to build a reputation as one of the most fearsome bowling attacks in world cricket.
Peterson admits that not getting to bowl can be somewhat irksome, but the team comes first and the spinner reckons that the current attack is definitely the best he’s been part of.
“It can be frustrating not getting to bowl, but you have to realise that you’re part of the team and the team comes first. It’s magnificent to get a front-row seat to watch our current bowling line-up. When I’m in a position where I’m surplus to the requirements, I definitely think it’s the best bowling attack I’ve been part of.”
Peterson might very well get his chance to come into the action at Newlands in the second Test. There are some murmurs that the groundsman has been asked to ensure that the Test lasts at least four days. Regardless of whether the rumours are true or not, the Cape Town ground generally has a bit more on offer for the spinners.
Peterson doesn’t know how the pitch will play just yet, but if the weather stays clear and sunny there could definitely be some turn on offer and while the South African quicks have run rampant in their opening spells, the Pakistanis are unlikely to fail so miserably twice.
“I’m not sure how the wicket will play. We’ve played on various surfaces at Newlands over the last few years. It seems that the seamers do a lot of the damage, but it’s probably the only surface where we’re going to play against Pakistan where a spinner could come into his own. Hopefully I get the opportunity and help the team get over the line. I think there’ll be a little bit on offer if the weather is good over the next few days,” said Peterson.
Though much has been said about Seed Ajmal, the fifth ranked Test bowler, South Africa hasn’t had any issues playing against him. Mohammed Hafeez picked up a handful of wickets in the first Test, but Proteas’ record against spin has been good in recent Tests.
Peterson revealed the team has done their homework in order to counter the threat of spin and every player has a game plan to nullify the Pakistan attack.
The batting was somewhat shaky in the first innings of the first Test, but there were no issues in the second innings and if the pitch is just a little bit flat, there should be plenty of runs on offer for the meaty batting line-up which has three players in the top 10 of the ICC players’ rankings for Test batsmen. DM
Photo: South Africa’s Robin Peterson reacts after Australia’s captain Michael Clarke was stumped at the WACA during the fourth day’s play of the third test cricket match in Perth December 3, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer