Mickey-leaks: ‘Smith susceptible to lbw, short-pitched stuff for Kallis... and let’s play a psychological war with Amla’

A couple of days ahead of South Africa's first Test against Australia at Woolloongabba, a dossier of the home team's game-plans against each of the opposition's players has been published in an Australian daily, The Courier Mail. The paper claims that the two-page leaked document suggests Australia's plans include peppering Jacques Kallis with bouncers, targetting Graeme Smith with the LBW and sledging Hashim Amla. There are also well-laid plans for newer members of the South African squad such as opening batsman Alviro Petersen, with the Aussies planning to trick him by swinging the ball away and then dismissing him with an inswinger.

It remains unknown who authored the dossier, however their South African-born coach Mickey Arthur on Tuesday had said that Dale Steyn is not the same bowler when he bowls to the left-handers, an observation that is there in the leaked document as well. Arthur was South Africa's coach between 2005-2010.

The Australian team refused to comment on the leak but did not deny the veracity of the dossier. It is not the first time a secret Australian cricket team dossier has inadvertently filtered into the public domain. In 2000, the then coach John Buchanan's gameplan leaked out ahead of a one-day series in New Zealand.

A deliberate Ploy?

However, it has also been suggested that the leak was deliberate and part of the mind games being employed by the Australians. Australian batsman Adam Gilchrist said it played on his mind when he learned exactly how opposition players were trying to get him out. Recalling the Buchanan incident, Gilchrist has described how the published game-plan gave the Australians, a "mental hold" over New Zealand on Australia's 2000 tour of that country.

Mentioned below are the alleged weaknesses of the South African players as per the dossier:

Graeme Smith: 'When Smith is not in form, his feet don't move that much and he can be very susceptible to lbw. We should look to develop some doubts in his mind and get him lbw. While he has improved his offside game, he is still less proficient outside off stump.'

Alviro Peterson: 'Is susceptible to the ball coming back in at him. We should look to bowl a few going away from him and then really look to get a good one coming back in at him. That's where we should attack him.'

Hashim Amla: 'We should look to get into his head and play a bit of a psychological war. We should also look to attack him with short-pitched bowling, lets really go after him with some short-pitched stuff.'

Jacques Kallis: 'We should look to revert to some short-pitched stuff and really test him out with that. Also, he has got such a high backlift he can get caught on his crease.'

AB de Villiers: 'His batting has been deteriorating while he has been keeping wickets. Susceptible to the ball coming back into him, to trap him lbw. If he is scoring well, we should look to bowl wider to him to try to dry him up and he won't like that at all.'

Jacques Rudolf: 'Susceptible early to nicking out, caught behind or in slips. We should look to take the ball across him, slant it, and get him in the corridor nicking. Doesn't like the ball swinging ball back into his pads.'

JP Duminy: 'He is another batsman we should look to take on with short-pitched bowling. We especially should look to get him pulling. He has an odd sort of defensive pull, it is neither here nor there and it is an area we can get him.'

Vernon Philander: 'Our batsmen must look to bring him back for a third and fourth spell. We must keep him out there on good batting wickets. He has been great with the new ball, but is pretty much untested coming back for third and fourth spells.'

Dale Steyn: 'It is almost impossible to pinpoint an area of weakness but he doesn't bowl as well to left handers. Not sure why. Our left handers should certainly be looking to score against him.'

Morne Morkel: 'He can be a bit all over place, we should look to put him off his game by scoring on both sides of the wicket. We should look to test his ability to absorb pressure. He is another bowler we want coming back for his third or fourth spell.'

Imran Tahir: 'Can be very impatient with his bowling and it leads to him being expensive.'

Four reasons to wake up at 5:30 Am and tune in

No.1 up for grabs:South Africa recently became the No.1 Test side in the world after a 2-0 win in England. They will hold on to the ranking if they win or draw the series. A series win for Australia will catapult them back to number one. In what is a warning to the incumbents, the last two sides to hold the No.1 ranking, India and England, went on downward spirals soon after they climbed to the summit.

Who will win: It couldn't be harder to predict. Over the last eight Tests that Australia and South Africa have contested, the record stands at 4-4. None of those 8 Tests, across three series, were drawn.

Pace like fire: SA's pacers — Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel — are among the top 10 in the ICC ratings. But last season against India, Hilfenhaus, Pattinson and Siddle suggested they might be just as good.

Ponting vs Kallis, one last time Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis will feature in the same series for probably the last time. Over recent years, Kallis has been as consistent as ever, while Ponting came out of a slump with a majestic display against India. Some of Ponting's greatest knocks have come against SA, while Australia is one of the two countries against whom Kallis averages less than 40.

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