• Three big problems for the Proteas

    The Proteas concluded another disappointing tour of the sub-continent with a 95-run defeat by Pakistan on Monday. ANDRE HUISAMEN looks at three areas of concern for the South Africans.

    It could be a while before South Africa play Test cricket again and a number of key issues need to be addressed in the meantime.

    Batting woes

    It has been going from bad to worse for the Proteas batting unit on the tour to Pakistan. Collapses can be sparked in an instant in the sub-continent. But, Monday’s implosion came in the form of the new ball and all but emphasised the lack of character in the Proteas camp at the moment. Would a batting coach have made a difference under these circumstances? It is hard to tell, given how poorly a few batsmen threw their wickets away. If these mistakes were to be avoided in the future, a batting coach or consultant should be implemented on a long-term basis to spare the Proteas more blushes.

    READ: Markram makes his mark, while De Kock crashes

    Quinton de Kock’s form

    The burden of captaincy has affected him greatly since the Sri Lanka series in December. Whether he needs more freedom or not, De Kock’s form is just as big a part of the batting collapses. It’s even difficult to pin that burden on some his recent dismissals, given how cheaply some of them came. De Kock is one of the Proteas’ best and most talented batsmen, but he needs to reassert himself to find greater composure down the order. He is struggling to play his natural game and needs some guidance at the moment to return to form.

    Captaincy vacancy 

    Cricket South Africa’s delay in appointing a permanent replacement for Faf du Plessis as captain only made matters worse for De Kock. The wicketkeeper was never going to turn down the opportunity, but CSA had more than enough time during the lockdown period to find a suitable candidate before the summer season started. Given the huge gap in time before the Proteas could play Test cricket again, the same assessment process will start. The damage has been done, though, and the Proteas find themselves saddled with the exact same issues as a year ago. Whether it’s Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar or Temba Bavuma, appointing the new captain needs to be done soon.

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    Andre Huisamen