The Proteas have played some good cricket in this series, but the real test is the series Down Under.
Apart from Australia’s experienced top order, South Africa have effectively played a second-string side, basically an A team. They shouldn’t read too much into this. Having said that, you still have to play good cricket, and the Proteas have done so.
The Proteas played without seven of their first-choice players in Port Elizabeth, and it certainly showed that they have some depth, but other factors come into play. Australia are mentally broken and battered at the moment. They were brushed aside by Sri Lanka in the Test series and they haven’t quite recovered from that. The Proteas have all the momentum and it allowed the back-up players to come in and play well.
Faf du Plessis has done really well as skipper and he’s backed up his captaincy with decent performances with that bat, so it’s a great positive for the Proteas. You always test a player or captain under pressure, but sadly the Australians haven’t provided that.
The Proteas have gone through a bit of a tough year on and off the field, but I hope the fans haven’t fallen out of love with the Proteas, because these players are world class and good men. There are only a few outside the team in different capacities who have their own agendas, but most people and administrators have Proteas cricket at heart.
Andile Phehlukwayo has been a big positive. He’s done really well for such a young guy, and I hope he has a long international career ahead of him.
I know Australia haven’t played well and they don’t have that much experience in this team, especially in the bowling department, but they are a proud nation and they are the world champions in their own right. To beat them in the manner the Proteas have, and to move up to No 2 in the world, is a satisfactory achievement and a confidence booster for the side.
As far as the Test squad to face the Aussies Down Under is concerned, I’m a bit concerned that Dane Piedt was left out. They should have given him a proper run, just like they do with other players. Rilee Rossouw should have played long ago as he was the next batter in line, so it’s good to see him in there and I hope he plays. The selectors kept on saying it’s about the next batsman in line and he should have played ahead of many. That’s a fact.
Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj have done well for their franchises and their selection is recognition for their domestic performances. Shamsi is an attacking spinner while Maharaj will be looked at as a more controlled spinner.
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