Dhaka, March 24 (IANS) Known for their fierce pace battery, South Africa have ridden on the guiles of their spinners to bowl out every opposition in this edition of the cricket World Cup. And skipper Graeme Smith could not have hoped for better as he feels it has added subtlety and varation to the attack.
The South African spinners picked up 30 wickets in the World Cup group league games. Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson is third in the tournament wicket-takers’ list with 14, followed by Pakistan-born leg spinner Imran Tahir who has a dozen victims, while Johan Botha has got four.
Part-time spinners Faf du Plessis (2) and Jean-Paul Duminy (1) have also chipped in.
“I think now there is more sublety and variation in our attack. We can adapt our line up to any particular surface. We don’t just have 40 overs of seam now. We can mix it up,” Smith said ahead of his side’s quarterfinal clash with New Zealand at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here.
“We allow guys to take different options, we have a lot of attacking options which has allowed us to take ten wickets every game in the World Cup. Hope we will continue like this.”
Of the three spinners, Tahir and Peterson are attacking spinners, while Botha has performed a containing role.
Smith, however, said it was necessary that the spinners stick to their assigned roles.
“They just seem to perform their roles well. I don’t think anyone needs to try and do anything spectacular or special tomorrow. We just need to carry on. Then that will be terrific,” he said.
“They have all performed different roles at different times. They have worked together.”
The South African spinners have also relished bowling in the tournament on tracks which have afforded them assistance, unlike those back home. “So for them to be able to come here and execute the skills in these conditions is very exciting,” the skipper said.
The spin magic has helped South Africa pick up wickets in the middle overs. “We have been able to pick up key wickets, and given an opportunity we have been able to pounce on the opponents, taking two to three wickets at a time. And this has really pushed the opposition back.”
“Our spinners now believe they are capable of performing well in this condition. This is great from my perspective. As a captain I just hope to give them the right field and belief to bowl in certain situations,” he said.
Lauding Peterson, he said he has started to believe more in his abilities.
“He has started to shine through on the field. Good that he has been able to perform well for us. That he is performing with both bat and ball is terrific.”
Smith also described Tahir as an asset.
“It is great to have an attacking spinner like him. He missed a key part of the tournament through injury. But the other guys have performed really well. To have him back in the line now adds a bit to me as a captain,” he added.
Tahir had to sit out two matches following a left thumb fracture, but returned in the game opposite Bangladesh.