Adams and Symcox RSA's best spinners

Trevor Chesterfield

26 April 1998

It is a hard role to be expected to play in the next four months but the youth of Paul Adams and wiles of the grizzled veteran Pat Symcox could lead to a renaissance of South African spin bowling.

Which is what Peter Pollock, convener of the national selection panel, hopes during the tour of England which starts in Worcester on May 12.

A tall task perhaps of the ancient and modern members of the side with Pollock critical of the role South Africa's spinners have played since the return to tests status six years ago in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Having identified Derek Crookes, Nicky Boje and Claude Henderson as the ``second wave'' of South Africa's spinners, Pollock said the time had arrived for one or more of the trio to become ``match-winning bowlers'' during the A team's tour of Sri Lanka.

``We are wanting more from them than someone who can bowl 20 overs for 33 runs by keeping tight and slowing down the scoring rate,'' he said. ``It is one of the reasons they have been selected for the A Team tour. We now need guys to take wickets.''

While they had the potential he noted that the selectors had not seen them put together any worthwhile performances. But Adams and Symcox were cast in a different role.

``Adams' big secret is his ability to take wickets. He is also capable of getting the ball past the bat at the highest level and doing the job expected of him.''

As for Symcox, Pollock felt to ignore the off-spinner's capabilities was not only foolish but also presumptious as he had a major role to play (with Adams) in England. While it was not expected that both would play in the same test, there would be the occasion where it could happen.

Pollock felt the group of younger spinners coming through would do much to redevelop the art of spin. But they needed senior role models and in this respect Symcox and Adams should provide the inspiration.

It is 93 years since South Africa's great googly quartet tormented England's batsmen into their first series defeat in South Africa in 1905/06, but names of Aubrey Faulkner, Reggie Schwartz, Ernie Vogler and George White mean nothing to the modern generation.

Yet in Adams and the younger spin triplets Indian-born Goolam Bodi, Robin Peterson and schoolboy Jacques Rudolph the match-winners wanted by the selectors are showing signs of emerging.

Boje went on the SA under-24 tour of Sri Lanka in 1995 and was in England two years ago with the South African A side. He has also been to India with Derek Crookes, another member of the 1996 SA A team in England. Yet neither have produced signs of what a crafty spin bowler can produce. What is interesting is that the leg-spinner on the 1995 under/24 tour was Adam Huckle, now bowling his leg-spin for Zimbabwe.

Trevor Chesterfield Cricket writer Pretoria News

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Source: Trevor Chesterfield

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Date-stamped : 26 Apr1998 - 18:17