The Proteas get their much anticipated series against India started soon. Photo: BackpagePix

Having dispatched Bangladesh and Zimbabwe already, it is fair to say the Proteas’ honeymoon is officially over and the real business of the summer can begin.

Over the course of the next couple of months, starting next week in Cape Town, the Proteas face a stern examination of their credentials with seven Tests against India and Australia.

The intensity will certainly be lifted from playing just two days and 907 balls like they did against Zimbabwe here at St George’s Park this past week.

Considering there are plenty of players within the Proteas camp – both batsmen and bowlers – only just returning from lengthy injuries and self-imposed sabbaticals, there is worry that the home team may be undercooked for the tough challenges that lay ahead.

Stand-in Proteas captain AB de Villiers, who too returned to Test cricket at St George’s Park after a two-year absence, believes his team are battle-hardened though.

"Our preparation was to make sure we get through this Test match, [with a] bit of workload and get guys into form. I'm happy with [the] workload. All our batsmen had time in the middle and all the bowlers had a chance to shine," De Villiers said.

South Africa’s bowlers certainly had a good workout after De Villiers enforced the follow-on at St George’s Park with close to 80 overs being delivered across both innings.

The Proteas, though, certainly have some interesting selection debates before the India series. Captain Faf du Plessis has to come back in the team, while premier fast bowler Dale Steyn is also still sitting on the sidelines.

“Faf will take over and then there is a bit of a selection headache. All the guys seem to be in good form," De Villiers said. "I am expecting to bat No.4 if I do play. If not, then I will carry drinks."

The other concern is, of course, the fitness of wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock. De Villiers took the gloves here in Port Elizabeth after De Kock was ruled out of the match, but does not think it could be a long-term solution.

“I love taking responsibility for the team and it went very well. It was very enjoyable in the end. It all happened at the same time. But ideally I would not like to keep and just focus on my batting. Keeping tends to get to me after a while. So it's a no, but its up for discussion," he explained. 

IOL Sport

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