CAPE TOWN – The Proteas have arrived in Port Elizabeth to begin their preparation for the third Test at St George’s Park, starting on Thursday.
They will be in a strange space though. It is not the familiar happy feeling of having spent the festive period in Cape Town with friends and family before picking up a routine victory in the New Year Test to boost the morale.
Instead, they face questions aplenty after suffering their first-ever defeat in the marquee Test of the summer since returning from isolation. So, instead of basking in confidence and form, there are issues all round that needs to be rectified over the course of the week if they are to put their noses in-front of what is proving to be a highly-competitive series.
The most contentious issue is, of course, the form – or lack of thereof – of skipper Faf du Plessis. The fact that Du Plessis’ leadership ability is being questioned in some parts is ludicrous. Frankly, the Proteas should regard themselves very fortunate to still be led by one of the country’s finest captains ever, and that list includes Graeme Smith and Hansie Cronje.
But if its statistics that allows Du Plessis to dine at the top of the captain’s table, he will know that his batting numbers over the past 12 months are not equally impressive.