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Five Proteas that bloomed during the summer

Rassie van der Dussen was one of the stand-out performers against India. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Rassie van der Dussen was one of the stand-out performers against India. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 25, 2022

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The Proteas enjoyed a summer for the ages by dispatching India in the Test and ODI formats.

Although they remain a team without "superstars", there were some wonderful individual performances that came to the fore.

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IOL Sport's Zaahier Adams, who covered the Western Cape leg of the tour, picks five players who stole the show.

1. Rassie van der Dussen

"Mr Dependable" remains the rock in the Proteas middle-order. Although his Test numbers can improve, especially batting in the crucial No 4 position, he played a leading role in both successful second innings run chases that ultimately won the series for the Proteas. However, it’s in the ODI format that Van der Dussen has no peer where he averages a mind-boggling 74.52. He certainly was superb in this series and would have considered himself unlucky to be beaten to the Player of the Series award by Quinton De Kock after striking 129*, 37* and 52. The most pleasing aspect of Van der Dussen's innings' during the ODI's was the impetus with which he arrived at the crease and the tempo that he maintained throughout.

2. Marco Jansen

There is always excitement in the air when a young fast bowler arrives on the scene. And when he is 2.06 metres tall and left-handed then it simply blows the roof off. Jansen certainly delivered on all the expectation with a majestic debut Test series where he picked up 19 wickets over the course of the three matches. Although his ODI debut in Paarl wasn't equally fruitful, the future only bodes well for the lanky 21-year-old.

3. Lungi Ngidi

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The previous 12 months had been a testing experience for the hulking fast bowler due to injury and illness. There was grave concern that Ngidi may not be the same bowler that he previously was, but his performances in both the Tests and one-dayers showed he is truly back to his best. He was particularly good in leading the attack that missed seniors pacemen such Anrich Nortje in the Tests and Kagiso Rabada in the ODI's.

4. Quinton de Kock

It's been a roller-coaster summer for De Kock after his retirement from Test cricket mid-way through the series. It served to be a blessing in disguise, though, with De Kock returning to the ODI team refreshed and hungry to score runs. He certainly filled his boots in the final two matches of the series with scores of 78 and 124 to seal the Player of the Series award. Most importantly, De Kock was smiling again and so were the Proteas.

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5. Andile Phehlukwayo

Arguably the most frustrating cricketer in the Proteas team. A veteran of 71 ODIs already at just 25, Phehlukwayo should be the fulcrum around which South Africa's white-ball teams are built around. Instead everyone is still waiting for Phehlukwayo to put in consistent performances where he can be relied on to bowl his 10 overs while contributing lower order runs. He certainly showed signs of rediscovering his best form by finishing as the leading wicket-taker in the series and holding his nerve to close out a thrilling last ODI at Newlands.

@ZaahierAdams

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