If Stephen Cook makes his debut for South Africa at Centurion, so should Rilee Rossouw.
There are quite a few selection debates to be had before Friday. If this is a transitional period like the management says, then it would make more sense to go with the younger players. The selection policy has always been to go with the guy who is next in line for an opportunity, and that is Rossouw.
Cook’s inclusion seems like a desperate selection unless the selectors make two or three changes. It is a dead rubber so they might be tempted to play a few other players.
If I was Rossouw and someone like Cook was brought in to play ahead of me, I would be very upset.
Personally I would look at the team selections for this game and think: who will move the Test team forward and then go with those players? The management and selectors have to show now that they have done some planning. They will have to show strong leadership despite media pressure.
We know the Proteas are a team in transition and it will take a few years to get back to where they’ve been before. It is important to identify players who are capable of playing for the next four or five years and not try and stop gaps at this stage.
Stiaan van Zyl has been sent back to domestic cricket. I think they are still undecided about his role in the team.
After the Wanderers defeat, South Africa’s confidence will be shot and now everyone, from the management to the selectors, are under pressure.
South Africa have a good chance of winning the final Test because England will lack the intensity they have shown so far since they have already won the series. It will be difficult for South Africa to measure things around this performance because if England take their foot off the gas it might feel like almost playing against an England A side.
South Africa must guard against some players almost having one foot in the ODI series. The Proteas know they need to play good cricket and somehow find a way to get their confidence back. Because England won’t be as formidable and motivated to win, it will be a big blow if we lose this series 3-0.
South Africa need to win this Test to get some sort of base to work from going forward.
The whole South African set up will be under pressure from the media. While Cook deserves his call up, the media should not burden him with so much pressure. It’s a different ball game, something he has never encountered before.
There have been calls for Russell Domingo to get in a batting coach to work with the top order, but I have always found that the best guys to learn from is the other batsmen in the team.
South Africa will look at their performances and results over the last six months and say: we haven’t been good enough. The players that are there are still the best in the country. There are no batters in South Africa who can match the current batting line-up, as they know what it takes to compete at that level as well as what is needed to succeed.
Momentum can shift very quickly within games and sometimes you just need to guard against those kind of spells that Stuart Broad produced.
I think Dane Piedt will come back into the side for Centurion while Hardus Viljoen seems like the obvious choice to make way for him.
Alviro Petersen is a former Proteas cricketer and the third South African to score a century on Test debut. He has several records, including:
- The highest partnership by a South African pair (501) with Ashwell Prince;
- Four consecutive list A centuries (SA record and joint world record);
- Scored a century in both innings of a first-class game three times;
- Most centuries in a South African first-class season (6);
- The 2010 Mutual and Federal SA Cricketer of the Year;
- In 2011 became only the sixth player in Glamorgan history to score more that 2000 runs in a county season;
- Founder of the Alviro Petersen Foundation and Alviro Petersen Cricket School: www.alviropetersen.com