After their convincing eight-wicket win over Bangladesh, Kobus Pretorius picks five talking points from the first ODI on Friday.
1. Rilee is here to stay
Since the World Cup, it has become increasingly difficult to drop Rilee Rossouw from the ODI side. After a poor start to his international career, Rossouw has grown in stature and his talent is there for all to see. He is fast becoming an integral and undroppable part of the ODI team and to a lesser degree the T20 side. With AB de Villiers on paternity leave, Rossouw is getting an extended run in the middle order and it is clear that Russell Domingo and his coaching staff rate him highly. If Rossouw is to be backed going forward it will make it increasingly difficult for Farhaan Behardien or Ryan McLaren to nail down a spot in the starting XI.
2. Balance is key
Domingo needs to start settling on the balance of the team. South Africa never settled on a consistent starting XI during the World Cup and it ended badly. The number seven batting position is the key. Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller and JP Duminy as a top six pick themselves. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott and Imran Tahir make up the tail. All that is left is number seven. It’s time to decide. Will it be Rossouw, McLaren, Behardien or Parnell who fills that void permanently.
3. Rabada is here to stay
After his record breaking bowling figures of 6-16, including a hat-trick, Kagiso Rabada is here to stay. He has been billed as one for the future since the SA u19’s won the World Cup in 2014, but that future has arrived sooner than most expected. Rabada is quick, hard working, eager to learn, talented and there on merit. He should be given an extended run in the ODI team where he can establish himself before making his Test debut. He should be managed carefully, but he adapts quickly and his continued selection could mean the end of Vernon Philander as a One-Day bowler for South Africa.
4. JP can spin
JP Duminy must no longer be regarded as a part-time spinner. He is by no means the finished product as a bowler, but it’s time to acknowledge he can bowl properly and be developed further. Duminy can become a spinning all-rounder for South Africa and should be given the backing to achieve that. With Duminy in the team as a second spinner, it perhaps lessens the need for a seaming all-rounder, especially on the subcontinent.
5. Faf is the man
Faf du Plessis is increasingly becoming the glue that keeps the South African batting order together. Since Jacques Kallis retired, Du Plessis has been moved higher up the order where he has shown signs of great promise. There is a maturity in his game that wasn’t there before and he is starting to understand his role in the team better. Du Plessis has the ability and talent to become truly world class and his innings of late suggest he can carry the burden at the top of the order. In a batting order containing Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, Du Plessis might not be the flashiest batsmen but his importance shouldn’t be underestimated.