• New year’s wishes for the Proteas

    The Proteas will head into 2020 determined to recover from the problems of 2019.

    That AB de Villiers, indeed, comes out of retirement

    • Graeme Smith got Mark Boucher to the helm and Jacques Kallis in as batting consultant. Boucher is open to inviting De Villiers out of international retirement for the 2020 T20 World Cup. Du Plessis is agreeable to this. Smith hasn’t had formal talks with De Villiers yet. Hopefully it will follow soon enough.

    No more burgeoning Proteas lost to Kolpak contracts

    • Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier, Simon Harmer and more – the list of players who started a Proteas career only to abort in favour of contracts in the United Kingdom is too long. Dwaine Pretorius avoided doing the same after an earnest chat with Smith. Presumably the precedent has been set for the foreseeable future.

    Discernible upward movement in the Test Championship

    • The Proteas were languishing at the bottom of the newly introduced Test Championship prior to victory over England in the series opener in Centurion. Perhaps this is the beginning of an upward trajectory, which can be complemented by gaining ground on first-placed India and second-placed New Zealand in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for Test teams.

    New magazine issue: Why De Kock must bat at four

    Long-term commitment from Smith

    • Smith has committed to the director of cricket position until the start of the 2020 Indian Premier League. He has contractual commentary commitments to fulfil in the IPL. Thereafter, maybe he can negotiate a long-term tenure with Cricket South Africa. Boucher is staying until 2023. A similar period for Smith is sustainable.

    A new Test-match opener

    • Ed Moore, Pieter Malan, whoever – the Proteas need to unearth a Test-match opening batsman. Dean Elgar is 32 years old. Aiden Markram’s injuries are stacking up. One or both are running out of opportunities. Perhaps Quinton de Kock will be promoted to the top of the order. Maybe Keegan Petersen will fill the role.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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