If you look at the Proteas side as a whole, we’re really solid at the moment. But it also seems that a few individuals are carrying the team. So do the selectors leave it as it is or do we strengthen the weak links? Are the selectors brave enough to drop big name players in order to become the best team possible?
If we go back to August 2016 (where we all had had enough of the Proteas) and look at the results to present, the Proteas are basically unbeatable in all formats of the game; we won a two Test series against NZ 1-0 and then beat Ireland 1-0 in a one off ODI. The SA public said the teams weren’t great. We then thrashed a weakened Australian side 5-0 at home, which we seemed not to mention that we were weakened too. We flew to Australia and won a Test series 2-1. Again “Australia weren’t great”. Sri Lanka then arrived on our shores and got thrashed 3-0 in the Tests, beat us 1-2 in the T20’s and got outplayed in the ODI’s, losing 0-5. We all said Sri Lanka were poor. Now we’re in NZ and have already won the T20 match and the ODI series (3-2) and have drawn the first Test.
So at what point do we admit that we’re actually a strong unit again and stop saying the opposition are weak?
But with any strong side, there’s always room for improvement and change, but do you change a winning team?
I think when it comes to the Proteas, there has been a few players that have carried the side for the past six months. The likes of Elgar, Faf, Quinny and Rabada have been real stand-outs.
But there’s been a few passengers too.
Hash hasn’t been up to his usual high standard, Duminy has been poor, Bavuma has struggled in general and to a lesser extent, while Cook’s technique isn’t ideal for international Test cricket, he has notched up three tons and two half centuries in his 10 Tests though.
In the current squad we have built formidable depth and we can go with different combinations depending on the pitch. We also have a few different options in the bowling department with regard to left arm, right arm or even spinning options.
That said, I think fresh blood is needed. Yes, we’re doing well and winning Tests, but why not improve the side, so when we play India and England again – we thrash them too.
One player that is a absolutely beating down the selectors door, is Theunis De Bruyn, and he should feel a bit hard done by, for not being selected already. At 24 years old, he’s old enough to know his game but young enough to learn from the older players and have a long international career. In 36 First Class matches, De Bruyn has scored just short of 3000 runs at an average of 49. He’s got a double ton under his belt, meaning he has the powers of concentration needed for Tests and he can help out with the ball too if needed.
Another is Parnell. Now I’m VERY aware that most of the nation thinks he is the worst cricketer to wear a Protea shirt – and to a point, I do too. But I also think that’s because he leads the line and we expect him to strike with the new ball. But if he’s batting at seven, the top six should really be getting the bulk of the runs and Parnell can accelerate the innings and bat with the tale. In this line-up, he’ll be the 5th bowler too. I think he’ll actually be a handy man to bowl while Rabada, Morkel and Vern are resting. When De Villiers feels like gracing us with his presence and playing for his country, he bats at four, everyone shifts one down and Parnell gets the boot.
A solid Test side, to me, looks like this: (and yes… I’m ignoring AB De Villiers)
Cook, Elgar, Hash, Faf, De Bruyn, De Kock, Parnell, Philander, Rabada, Maharaj, Morkel.
What’s your thoughts? Am I mad to consider Parney? Should we stick to our winning side and give JP and Temba more time? Let me know.