The selectors should not make wholesale changes to the South African team for the Newlands Test.
South Africa’s team selections have come under a lot of criticism after the heavy defeat in Durban, but I don’t think they will make many changes for the New Year’s Test in Cape Town.
I have no doubt the best team is there. The personnel in the Test squad are the best in the country at the moment.
The selectors would want to draft in players with international experience for a big series such as England which isn’t always possible. They will need to be strong and make sure they pick the right combinations.
Dean Elgar scored the only hundred at Kingsmead and Dane Piedt took the only five-for, but collectively as a unit South Africa are not playing well.
In the shorter formats like T20 cricket one player can change the game and win it for his team, but in Test cricket you need a few players to do well in order for the team to be successful.
I would make only two changes for Newlands. Quinton de Kock should come in to take the wicketkeeping gloves from AB de Villiers and in doing so replace one of the middle order batsmen. Kagiso Rabada is the natural replacement for Dale Steyn, who will not be fit enough to play.
With so many batsmen underperforming it is only natural for people to call for their heads and for other players to be picked instead, but players have to earn their chance at the highest level.
Guys must prove they are ready for international cricket. If you look at the South African A side, they got smashed in India and lost heavily to an England XI prior to the first Test.
You must perform at that level to knock the door down so you have to look at those performances.
Players like Rilee Rossouw and Temba Bavuma were identified as players for the future while I was still playing.
Hashim Amla said the problem in Durban with the batting was a lack of confidence rather than any technical deficiencies and he is spot on – it is just confidence.
It spells ominous times for South Africa when they lose Dale Steyn and England welcome back James Anderson because it means England will have the better bowling attack.
The only way to turn their batting fortunes around is for the Proteas to make sure they have good mental preparation going into the game.
They have to forget about what has happened before. They must build a bubble around the team and shut out all the negativity from the outside and say: this is what we need to do.
It is vital that they win in Cape Town where Newlands has been a happy hunting ground for them.
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