Kobus Pretorius highlights the five big talking points ahead of the second ODI between South Africa and England in Port Elizabeth.
De Kock settles down
After a 2015 to forget Quinton de Kock is fast becoming one of South Africa’s most important batsman in the 50-over format. It is clearly the format he enjoys most and his unbeaten 138 against England underlined his skill and importance to the Proteas cause. His instincts, suspicious in Test cricket, are far better suited to the one-day game at this stage of his career and while he will be prone to inconsistency, his abilities makes him a key player.
Does merit count?
It’s hard to figure out what Marchant de Lange is doing in the Proteas set-up. Granted, he only played because Kagiso Rabada was rested but why was he called up in the first place? He didn’t perform well for the SA A side against England and only played in that game after Wayne Parnell had to withdraw due to injury. De Lange was also flown to India during the Test series after Vernon Philander got injured. The selectors clearly see something in him and his pace is certainly a factor, but he has struggled with injuries and it’s difficult to accept that he is the best option out there.
AB de Villiers is usually very honest and forthright during press conferences, sometimes to his detriment, but to suggest after the 39-run loss in Bloemfontein that the bowlers ‘didn’t have that bad a day’ seems devoid of all logic. It’s also undermining the intelligence of everyone watching the game because the bowling, especially in the first 20 overs, was truly awful. The Proteas, like Cricket South Africa, don’t like to be criticised despite poor results. It’s a naive outlook to have in professional sport and if they lose this series it will only get worse.
Injuries big factor
Having four key, first-choice bowlers unavailable (Steyn, Philander, Rabada, Abbott) has played a big part in the team’s results. Any team would struggle without their main bowlers and Rabada and possibly Abbott coming back for the second ODI will be a welcome boost. Perhaps the more alarming problem is the quality of the reserves coming into the team.
I will wait
That is the game David Miller is currently playing with himself after being left out of the team, with Rilee Rossouw being preferred. While Miller has been too inconsistent in the past, he remains a promising and exciting prospect. So is Rossouw, which means the whole lower order is under pressure to perform. How long Miller will have to wait for another opportunity remains to be seen, but he can still add value in an era where average ODI scores are climbing to 300-plus.