Are these six Proteas ready for the World Cup?

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Aug 14, 2018

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JOHANNESBURG - Prior to the One-Day series in Sri Lanka, we previewed six players who would be under the microscope over the five matches. With the series now done, Stuart Hess assesses how those players fared.

Heinrich Klaasen

It’s impossible to judge Klaasen on just two matches in which he faced 21 balls. He deserved more of an opportunity, and will hope that arrives against Zimbabwe next month with Faf du Plessis likely to sit out. That middle order does still look thin and it remains worth the selectors’ while to provide Klaasen with more chances - his performances against India last summer making him a deserving candidate. They would not have learned much more about him in this series.

Wiaan Mulder

An unpolished diamond, the 20-year-old looks like being a fixture in Proteas’ teams in the future. But does that future include the 2019 World Cup? On the basis of this series, the tournament may be too soon for Mulder. His bowling is too inconsistent, he neither contains nor attacks, and in the latter category he is let down by not being quick enough. Pace will come. His batting looks solid, but he needs to do a better job of finding the boundary - again, that will come with experience. There are more seasoned options in the position he’s pushing for and they probably merit consideration at this stage.

Aiden Markram

South Africa seemed to have settled on Faf du Plessis playing in the no.4 spot; which meant Markram batted at no.3 on the three occasions he played. Was horribly hampered by his shortcomings on spinning tracks which then developed into a larger problem against spin bowling. ‘The book’ is out on Markram now and opposition sides will have taken notice. He is a hardworking player however and will pore over what went wrong in recent weeks. Will the selectors practice patience with him or do they throw their lot in with Reeza Hendricks, who had instant success in Sri Lanka? Or indeed look elsewhere and try to entice one of the ‘Kolpak players’ back?

Keshav Maharaj/Tabraiz Shamsi

Who would have thought South Africa would go into a World Cup with so many good options in the spin department? Linda Zondi, the chairman of selectors is going to disappoint someone when he has to choose - most likely two out of Maharaj, Shamsi and Imran Tahir for the World Cup, for its highly unlikely South Africa will take all three in a 15-man squad. Maharaj was outstanding in the last match, but Shamsi was excellent in the three he played, while Tahir has been brilliant in the English T20 tournament. It could well come down to fielding and batting.

JP Duminy

There’ve been a couple of ‘Duminy 2.0’ tales in recent years, but those proved to be false arrivals. It may even be too soon to suggest what we saw of him in Sri Lanka should be hailed because as he has stated, consistency has been his biggest hang-up. But there’s no denying adopting a more positive outlook and more aggressive attitude has paid dividends. Duminy is one of the most experienced One-Day players in the country and for the foreseeable future he appears to have ensured there’ll be no debate about his position. A fine series, long may his form continue - the Proteas need it to.

The Mercury

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