The heavy defeats by India will shape the way the Proteas will approach the next 12 months ahead of the 2019 World Cup, says head coach Ottis Gibson.
A lot has been said about the Proteas’ approach to the ODI series. CSA convenor of selectors Linda Zondi’s comments about a rotation policy were not widely accepted and generally, fans could not separate their desire to defeat India from their acknowledgement that squad-building is key.
Yes, the rotation policy was activated early due to key players being injured, but this was no excuse for poor batting, which led to four outright defeats.
The Proteas are down 4-1 in the series: having lost by six wickets in Durban, nine wickets in Centurion, 124 runs in Cape Town and 73 runs in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas are nowhere near ready for the World Cup and Gibson admitted this after his side’s defeat at St George’s Park.
‘I know we’ve been focusing on the World Cup, but I don’t think the team that will go to the tournament is the one that you saw tonight,’ said Gibson on Tuesday.
‘It’s a long way to go. We certainly need people that can use the new ball and get wickets at the top of the order. That will be essential in England. We’ve got four batsmen in the top 10 in the world in this format and three of them are missing.
‘Take three of the best batsmen out of any team in the world and they will struggle, and when you do it against a very strong Indian team, it has exposed us.’
Despite not having their best squad available, Gibson did not deny that his side was outplayed.
‘I’ve told the lads in the dressing room we won’t make excuses, but we’ll try to get better. It’s been a good lesson and in a year’s time, I think it will be a good lesson to have learned.
‘[It shows] just where we are with our cricket and our thinking, and the way we are going to play the game in the next 12 months before the World Cup.
‘We’ve got a good hiding from India, let’s not kid ourselves about that, but it’s also given us a lot of food for thought going forward. Twelve months from now, we’ll be a lot stronger for having had this experience.’
Photo: Khalid Mohidin