Many cricket watchers outside of South Africa will not be too familiar with Loots Bosman, but South Africans are all too aware of just how capable he is in limited over cricket. Loots “The Hammer” Bosman is the leading batsman in the domestic Pro 20 Series, and is currently the only player to score a Pro 20 Series 100. After being out of action with knee ligament damage he has returned to action with a bang, scoring 58 and 94 in the two T20 internationals against England.
Bosman is not new to the South African set up, having played 12 ODI’s and 6 T20 games, with limited success in the 50 over format. In ODI’s he has only one 50, a score of 88, and has been less destructive than he can be, perhaps an indication of not having settled in international cricket at that level. However it seems he was born to play T20 cricket. Before today’s match he had an international record of 5 games, an average of 40.75 with an impressive strike rate of 153.77, and Fridays score of 58 being his highest. He also shared the best opening partnership record for South Africa, 146 that he and Smith put on against Pakistan. Today’s innings saw him and Smith better that record, and the world record, as they put on 175 from only 88 balls. Bosman’s innings of 94 is also the highest by a South African in T20 internationals, beating Gibbs 90 not out, and he now has the highest score in both South African domestic and international T20 cricket.
Domestically Bosman has played 34 Pro 20 Series matches, with an average of 34.66, a strike rate of 144.24, and a highest score of 104. That’s a record that would hold up with the best in the world. The freedom that he is allowed in T20 cricket is just what Bosman thrives on. While is record is impressive what he has shown in the last two games against England is that his game has gotten better. The freedom that is afforded to him, particularly with the relative newness of T20 cricket, has seen Bosman as a bit of gun slinging batsman, swinging for every ball. While this is an approach that has worked for him, his move from the Free-State Eagles, to the Kwa-Zulu Natal Dolphins, has seen Graham Ford working with him to build an innings. This was evident in both games, particularly in today’s master class, where he took a couple of overs to play himself in before launching, picking the balls to hit, rather than swinging for each one.
Hopefully the selectors for the Mumbai Indians have been watching these games. Bosman has been Indian for two years but is yet to play a game. The 4 non Indian players rule means that is tough to get into the side, particularly with the likes of Duminy, Malinga, Jayasuriya, Bravo and Mills in the squad. However there have been many opportunities to play Bosman but Ashraful, Napier and Ronchi have been picked ahead of him. Ronchi in particular has had many chances to prove himself but has failed to do so.
The talents of Bosman are obvious to all South Africans and will have been noted by others. If the Mumbai Indians continue to ignore these I’m sure other IPL teams will have no problems finding a place for the explosive hitter in their teams.
pic from cricinfo.com