There’s not much time between now and next year’s World Cup, and the Proteas will be well aware that there is still a lot of work to be done by then.
Young batsman Aiden Markram was thrown into the deep end when he was made the team’s stand-in captain following an injury to regular skipper Faf du Plessis. He has himself admitted that he’s got a lot to learn. Having struggled with the bat, Markram will hope to regain his form soon, but in coach Ottis Gibson, he has someone who believes in him.
One of the few positives from the series has been the emergence of wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen, who has filled in well for Quinton de Kock, who also missed a large chunk of the series through injury. Klaasen’s form with the side should be a kick up De Kock’s backside and remind him not to take his place in the team for granted.
We take a look at five things we have learned from the ODI series between South Africa and India, which concluded on Friday.
Quinton de Kock’s got some competition
From now on, the prodigiously talented De Kock will have to look over his shoulder as stand-in wicketkeeper Klaasen put his hand up to show the selectors just what he can do when given a chance. De Kock will most likely regain his place in the team once he comes back from injury. But, should his run of poor form continue, then Klaasen might get another call to play for his country.
READ MORE: Klaasen clouts SA to big win
Markram has a lot to learn as a leader
Markram is a future Proteas captain, there’s no doubt about that. Coach Gibson has stated time and time again that the 23-year-old Titans batsman is one for the future, and he was given a chance to lead the side in Du Plessis’ absence to give him a taste of leading an international cricket side. Markram admitted that he still had a lot to learn, and with leaders in the side like Du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, he is in good company.
READ MORE: Gibson defends Markram captaincy
SA’s struggles against wrist spin will need to be addressed
One of the biggest talking points in this series has been South Africa’s failures against wrist spin. And it’s there for everyone to see as Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been the standout performers with the ball for Virat Kohli’s men. The two have taken 30 wickets between them, and Gibson will probably be scratching his head to find a solution. Proteas skipper Du Plessis, renowned for his abilities against spin, was sorely missed.
READ MORE: Slow India pace ‘amazes’ Proteas
JP Duminy’s place in the team is in serious doubt
At 33, Duminy is one of the elder statesmen in the team, and is expected to lead from the front should the likes of De Villiers and Du Plessis not be available. He hasn’t done that. His average in the ODI series – 19.80 – and age, suggests that he’s on very thin ice, and could be one of the players who makes way when Du Plessis returns.
READ MORE: Kohli powers India to 5-1 triumph
The South African batting lineup was massively short on experience in the final ODI, and it showed. It didn’t help that the senior batsmen in the side were short on form and confidence, leaving the relatively new guys exposed. Khaya Zondo did well to score 54, and Andile Phehlukwayo’s 34 off 42 balls proved invaluable, but it was never going to be enough. India again took advantage of senior players’ poor form when they beat the Proteas convincingly in the first T20I on Sunday.
READ MORE: Duminy: Senior batsmen in slumps
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images