Following is a review on Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand team member who compile the squad of Group B in ICC Champions trophy 2006. This is the 2nd part of the series. Here's the first part (India, Australia and England squads).
Group B (Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand).
Mohammad Yousuf (Captain),
Younis Khan,(Danger Man)
Abdul Razzaq (v.capt.),
Mohammad Hafeez,(Unknown identity)
Shoaib Mallik,(Dark Horse)
Rao Iftikhar Anjum,
Mohammad Asif,(My pick)
Shoaib Akhtar,(Sleeping Giant)
Note - Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif faied drub test and have been replayed by Abdur Rehman - the left arm spinner and Yasir Arafat - the medium pacer all rounder.
Features :- No Injamam ( here's why) - Improved fielding, Lethal Bowlers and Passion.
Unknown identities :- I see three unknown ones in Pakistani squad for Champions trophy - Mohammad Hafeez, Faisal Iqbal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum. The first one is a left handed opener with the ability to bowl some overs in the middle of an ODI innings (very similar off spinner to Shoaib Mallik and former great - Saqlain Mushtaq). The second one is a middle order batsman - the nephew of Mr. Javed Miadad and the latest batting hope from Pakistan.
The last one is a medium fast bowler, with a slinging action which helps Iftikhar Anjum to swing the ball. Here's another special article on Pakistani cricket team.
Greame Smith - Captain,
Mark Boucher v-capt.(Dark Horse)
Herschelle Gibbs,(Sleeping Giant)
Loots Bosman, (Unknown identity)
AB de Villiers,(My pick)
Shaun Pollock,(Danger Man)
Features :- Full of all rounders or six hitters. A brilliant team. The best on paper. AND THE MOST UNLUCKY TEAM AS WELL.
Unknown identities :- I see 5 players in this South African team whom you may not know too much about. First three are - Justin Kemp, Robin Peterson and Charl Lengeveldt. Kemp is a medium pacer who is more know for his six hitting abilities. And when I say "six hitting ability", you better believe me.
Robin Peterson is the same man against whom Brain Lara made 28 runs in just one over of that first test at Johannesburg, 12-16 December 2003. The over read - 4 6 6 4 4 4. Just for information, Robin Peterson is a left arm spinner. The another one I would like mention is Charl Langeveldt - the swing bowler who bowls around 130 kh/hr but gets the ball to swing a long way. With a very good fast bowlers' bowling action, but a injury prone career, Charl Langeveldt has not much to tell about himself.
Who is Loots Bosman :- Full name - Lungile Loots Bosman. Date of Birth - 14th April, 1977. Abilities - A hard hitting opening batsman or more of a Twenty20 cricketer. With half centuries from 22 balls and century from 43 in his Domestic career in South Africa, Loots Bosman might just be the none-white/black/coloured cricketer that South Africa team needs.
AB de Villiers :- A right handed batsman who can bat anywhere in the long batting lineup of South Africa (Although I feel he will be at no. 3 in this ICC champions ship), and also happens to be a Wicket keeper. His favourite shots are pull/hook and the drives through the off side. Someone to watch out for if you like young batsmen with class.
Stephen Fleming - Captain,
Nathan Astle,(Sleeping Giant)
Scott Styris, (Dark Horse)
Brendon McCullum,(My pick)
Shane Bond,(Danger man)
Jiten Patel,(Unknown identity)
Features :- This team plays least number of International cricket matches. Probably every single player in their team can bat and have the coolest captain in cricket arena - Stephen Fleming.
Another feature of New Zealand I have to discuss here is their experiments. If you remember correctly - New Zealand started their bowling with a spinner - Dipak Patel in that 1992 World Cup and surprised every one. With Indian wickets offering absolutely no help to fast bowlers in this 2006 ICC Champions trophy, we just might see New Zealand pulling out Jiten Patel (the unknown identity) and start bowling with him during the Power plays. Somehow I feel they just might do this.
New Zealand won the 2002 ICC champions trophy - their only "more than two team" tournament win till date.
Unknown Identities :- Almost the complete team, but for description - I'll pick Peter Fulton, Hamish Marshall and Their wicket keeper Brendaon McCullum.
So select which ones you want to know more about. Here we go --
Peter Fulton : A clear example of potential with opportunities. New Zealand Cricket needs a full time opener, both for test matches and ODI's and that's were Peter Fulton fits in. This right handed, almost 28 year old opener has played 5 Test matches and 10 ODI's till the day I had written this.
Hamish Marshall : Another one of twins brothers who both played International cricket for their country. Hamish and James Marshall. Hamish is the more successful one who made his debut again around 3 years ago for New Zealand. A right handed middle order batsmen - he is bound to catch your eyes with his elegant shots. But the more important things about him is his curly hair. A very good fielder as well.
Brendon McCullum : Being just a wicket keeper in International cricket is not enough. You have to be a good batsman as well and right now nearly every International teams have wicket keeper who can bat as well as any one else. Brendon McCullum is also one of those. If not better.
He likes to cut and pull the ball and very rarely makes a mistake while keeping. But it's his fighting spirit which will catch your eyes when you want him bat. So just a suggestion - if this man is batting against your team - don't think you have won. Wait till he gets out.
Your options :-
Ask about any player that you want to know more about or read the Part three of the series (West Indies and Sri Lanka teams review).