AB de Villiers Provides Life-Changing Experience for Lutho Sipamla

Lutho Sipamla, a 20-year-old seamer from South Africa, managed to make his international debut during the second T20 International match against Pakistan. He has credited his experience while playing under de Villiers in the MSL as a life-altering one. Although the Tshwane Spartans struggled during their campaign, Lutho Sipamla consistently shined at the top of the innings as well as during the death of his team. This is where he gained irreplaceable experience from his world-renowned captain every step of the way while attracting the attention of several national selectors.

Lutho Sipamla commented that “I managed to gain a world of experience while playing with Ab De Villiers,” Sipamla stated. “Training, sharing the dressing room, and playing beside him was life-altering for me as he managed to keep me calm. Ab de Villiers presence calms you due to the fact that he speaks to you directly and gives you important plans. I learned a great deal from him as he allowed me to set the field how I wanted it at times to assist with my bowling.”

Sipamla managed to find the experience of making his debut in international cricket “impeccable”, and stated that words were insufficient to describe his feelings during his match on Sunday while playing in front of a jam-packed crowd at Wanderers stadium where the top-ranked T20 side in the world was defeated by South Africa to clinch a dominant lead in the 3-match series.

“When I walked onto the pitch in front of a full house, my childhood dream came true, and it was undoubtedly an incredible moment for me,” Sipamla stated after he made his debut. “There aren’t any words to describe the feeling I had at that moment.”

The 20-year-old seamer admitted that he was feeling rather nervous prior to the start of the match. However, he didn’t let it show once he had the ball in his hand. “I was definitely nervous before the match. I guess anyone making their debut for South Africa will be nervous. I merely tried to control my emotions to the best of my ability and soaked everything in.”

Sipamla’s Performance During His Debut

Sipamla didn’t take any wickets during his first international game, but he did manage to look the part as he reined in the batsmen from Pakistan following an explosive start. Sipamla was brought on after Babar Azam accumulated 30 runs from just two overs, Sipamla managed to only give away a total of 5 singles in his debut over which was followed up by an impressive 3 dot balls to Babar.

Faced with a batsman who had an imperious mood on a noticeably dry pitch, Sipamla reduced his pace and simply cut the ball while varying his lengths. The captain of the day, David Miller, required someone that could regain control and Sipamla certainly assisted in that regard as he brought South Africa back into the match during the middle overs. Let’s hope he plays another match before the series comes to an end.

Things England Need To Fix for Second Test in Antigua

After a devastating defeat in Barbados, the England cricket team only have a couple of days to turn things around before the second Test in Antigua. Before the match gets underway, let’s take a look at a few things that England need to fix in order to avoid another crushing defeat.

Don’t Leave An Experienced Seamer on the Bench

One of the biggest talking points before the first Test was played was whether Sam Curran or Stuart Broad would be selected as the second seamer. The team decided to go with Curran’s all-around batting skills and swing bowling instead of the hit-the-deck style that Broad brings to the table. However, Curran was unfortunately unable to make a huge impression due to the new ball and struggled to get control. When you play in the West Indies, regardless of the pitch is fasts or slow, you always go with a tall, quick bowler. It was a bad call to go with Curran instead of Broad.

Select a Spinner Who Plays a Holding Role

The decision made by England to include two spinners was a big concern as the West Indies decided to select four quicks along with Roston Chase who is a part-time spinner. In Sri Lanka, England succeeded as they played Jack Leach, Adil Rashid, and Moeen Ali. This trio managed to complement each other thanks to their unique strengths. However, in Barbados, England decided to bench Leach which resulted in both Rashid and Moeen leaking runs. The deck in Antigua is not quick or solid, so two spinners might be the right call this time around, but in Barbados, it was definitely the wrong call.

Time to Change the Batting Order

Although Rory Burns provided a stunning 84 runs during the second-innings, there were quite a few doubts when it came to Keaton Jennings who only scored 14 and 17 and was caught twice on edging drives. Even though Jennings managed to score two Test hundreds in Asia, he has quite a few difficulties when he faces pace bowlers. This is a weakness that West Indies will definitely exploit. The best option for England in Antigua is to replace him with Joe Denly, who is currently uncapped but does boast with loads of experience.  He is an exceptional player at the moment and will do far better in terms of batting when compared to Jennings.

Joe Root Needs To Be Revived

Another major issue that can be rectified before playing in Antigua is the outcome that Joe Root provided at the Kensington Oval during their horrible defeat. Joe Root’s batting average managed to drop below 50 which is the first time since 2014 with scores of 22 and 4. A top order that is currently misfiring placed an increase of pressure on him. However, nothing will assist England more than Root reviving his touch when it comes to batting. He needs to play much better for England to have a chance of winning this time around.