Quinton de Kock, Tabraiz Shamsi and Rassie van der Dussen celebrate on a rare occasion against Australia. When De Kock failed to score big runs, SA lost.
Quinton de Kock, Tabraiz Shamsi and Rassie van der Dussen celebrate on a rare occasion against Australia. When De Kock failed to score big runs, SA lost.

Finding answers beyond Proteas

By stuart hess Time of article published Feb 28, 2020

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When last were the Proteas so reliant on one player for runs? It got ridiculous against Australia really.

Quinton de Kock had to score, or else the team lost and Australia’s bowlers were too good for him to do so more than once.

Where was Faf du Plessis? Rassie van der Dussen? David Miller? The all-rounders? (more of that later). Those are experienced players - in Du Plessis and Miller’s case they’ve delivered under pressure in the IPL and other T20 tournaments around the world, but has their time passed?

They are the most experienced white-ball batsmen in South Africa, but they let the team down badly in the T20 series against Australia. The batting has served up more questions than answers across all formats this summer. Is it time to just go “all in” with young talent? Is that young talent out there and able to succeed at international level? Questions, questions, questions ... finding answers seems beyond the Proteas right now.

Spin conundrum

Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar took 13 wickets between them in the series - and with all due respect, they are not Shane Warne or Muttiah Muralitharan.

Much was made of the SA Under-19 team being incapable against spin, but judging from the Proteas this summer (remember Dom Bess took a Test “five-for” against SA in Port Elizabeth) and watching domestic cricket, every batsmen in SA, at all levels, can’t play spin. Whatever money has been spent sending players - batsmen and bowlers - to India for those spin camps every May, has been a waste. SA cricket needs to completely re-evaluate its strategy around batsmen and how they play spin.

The all-rounders

The starting teams picked in this series lacked balance. De Kock had only five bowlers at his disposal in the last two games and there wasn’t enough depth in the batting.

Bowling coach Charl Langeveldt said Andile Phehlukwayo’s bowling has gone backwards while Dwaine Pretorius doesn’t have the weapons to scare opposing batsmen, his own batting is inconsistent and he was poor in the field.

It all made Chris Morris look very good. SA could do with finding a spot for Jon-Jon Smuts for he does offer an extra bowling option too, although he needs an innings in the Proteas jersey to make him feel like he belongs at the highest level.

Bowling

SA’s bowling has been incredibly poor in four out of six T20 matches this summer.

The powerplay has been an absolute horror show, with bowlers not knowing how to execute and certainly not being able to apply pressure on the opposition batsmen.

The short ball is simply not being bowled properly and in too many cases the change-ups have been used so often they now lack a critical surprise factor - also they are not being bowled properly.

Learning

This is a period where young players are learning, the captain is learning about his players as is the coaching staff. What is apparent is that the rot in SA cricket runs deep.

The administrative problems have severely impacted on the quality of the game at lower levels.

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