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Where to now, Proteas?

The ticking time bomb which threatened since the departure of stalwarts like Smith, Kallis and Boucher finally exploded.

Losing our number one spot in the world rankings came as no surprise. My colleague, Bobby Londt, recently shared HD Ackerman’s comment that we were only in the top spot on paper for the past year. Our performances did not match our ranking.

There appears to be dissent in the ranks, with a prominent member of the selection committee criticising the captain in the media, and questions being asked about the coaching staff as well as Cricket South Africa and its role, following the rumours of meddling in the team selected for the crucial game which we lost against New Zealand in the World Cup.

Before we take out the pruning shears, it may be advisable to consider some realities.

Dale Steyn, our main strike bowler, was injured for a long time, and when he returned, did not put in the performances we know he is capable of, despite his great heart and fiery competitiveness. His ability to put batsmen under pressure assisted the other bowlers to take wickets. While he was not playing, we did not really have anyone else capable of taking over that role.

Trying to find a replacement for Alviro Petersen proved to be a much more daunting task than merely picking another player. Hindsight wisdom from critics castigates the selectors and coaching staff for trying to recycle a brilliant middle order batsman into an opener. Would they have been equally loud in their praise if the plan worked? The criticism which forced Alviro to retire now appears to have been unwarranted as the wise guys realise just how important (and difficult) a job opening the batting is.

Many supporters, including me, totally underestimated the English cricket side. They have a great mix of established players and highly talented newcomers. Mix this with a fair dose of confidence and self-belief, and you have a side capable of reaching their goal of becoming the top side in the world soon.

What SA Cricket needs now is for all concerned to work towards developing the new super team who will again head the rankings. Neither the coaches, nor the players, nor the selectors pick themselves. The leadership and guidance has to come from the top.

Sure, there are political challenges as well, but we do see players coming through on merit, and becoming role models for others. We need more of this to unlock the vast potential this country has.

If this does not happen, we could end up in the same situation as the Springboks find themselves. There is so much money to be made elsewhere that, coupled with the weakened exchange rate, the likes of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Morné Morkel may just decide to seek their fortune elsewhere.

This will, indeed, be a catastrophe far worse than losing against an English side.

 

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One Response to Where to now, Proteas?

  1. Peter Dembitzer 22 January 2016 at 7:59 am #

    England are in the position we were for many years with Kallis, Klusener and Pollock- having effectively a genuine all rounder in Stokes. They are by far the better side in all departments with a thinking, tactical coach. Poor selections have not helped. De Lange and Abbott were flown to India where the situation cried out for De Kock in the test side as one of the replacements.Fast bowlers were not needed. A couple of weeks later, Abbott and De Lange were not selected at the Wanderers. The omission of Cook is another example. I hope Morne quits test cricket. NEVER a matchwinner, 6 five wicket hauls in 160 innings, and takes a whole test trying to find what length to bowl. The most overrated bowler ever to represent the Proteas.