SACricketmag.com picks the Proteas’ Test team of the decade.
1. Graeme Smith, captain (2010-14; matches: 38; runs: 2,814; average: 45.38)
Close, but no: Alviro Petersen
- The former captain is back, this time to lead the Proteas as director of cricket. He batted with a heavy bottom hand and must now rule with a heavy hand.
2. Dean Elgar (2012-19; matches: 59; runs: 3,644; average: 39.18)
Close, but no: Aiden Markram
- The steely left-hander was the country’s most-prolific Test opening batsman of the decade, even if the limited-overs XI won’t have him.
3. Jacques Kallis (2010-13; matches: 33; runs: 2,810; batting average: 58.54; wickets: 34; bowling average: 43.11)
Close, but no: Jacques Rudolph
- The veteran all-rounder played less than a third of the decade, but his vast numbers justifies selection regardless.
4. Hashim Amla (2010-19; matches: 85; runs: 6,695; average: 49.96)
Close, but no: Ashwell Prince
- This stalwart scored the most Test runs for South Africa over this period, but probably should have retired from the longest format sooner than he did.
5. AB de Villiers (2010-18; matches: 60; runs: 5,059; average: 57.48)
Close, but no: JP Duminy
- There is plenty of talk doing the rounds about a return for the prolific right-hander during next year’s T20 World Cup, but the Proteas could do with a Test comeback as well.
6. Faf du Plessis (2012-19; matches: 61; runs: 3,750; average: 41.66)
Close, but no: Temba Bavuma
- He has confirmed he will stick around as Test captain for the upcoming Test series against England, at least, and hopefully beyond that too.
7. Quinton de Kock, wicketkeeper (2014-19; matches: 43; runs: 2,554; average: 38.11, catches: 167; stumpings: 11)
Close, but no: Mark Boucher
- Whether the talented wicketkeeper-batsman should stay down the order or be elevated to No 4 remains in the balance. He could also open, if he doesn’t keep wicket.
8. Vernon Philander (2011-19; matches: 60; wickets: 216; bowling average: 22.16; runs: 1,619; batting average: 24.16)
Close, but no: Kyle Abbott
- That characteristic, metronomic ‘fourth stump’ line of the steady right-armer earned him the country’s third-most Test wickets this decade.
9. Keshav Maharaj (2016-19; matches: 27; wickets: 100; average: 31.88)
Close, but no: Imran Tahir
- It took a while, but the Proteas have found a solid Test spinner in the accurate left-armer. Now, if they’d just stop dropping him on occasion in favour of an all-seam attack …
10. Dale Steyn (2010-19; matches: 59; wickets: 267; average: 22.29)
Close, but no: Duanne Olivier
- The toughest news of the year was that of Steyn’s retirement from Test cricket. Injuries caught up with him, but he’ll remain available for ODI and T20I competition.
11. Morne Morkel (2010-18; matches: 67; wickets: 248; average: 25.99)
Close, but no: Kagiso Rabada
- The decade included his international retirement and a Kolpak contract in England, but it was good to see him in the Mzansi Super League for the Tshwane Spartans.
Photo: Gallo Images