There are so many questions and theories flying around at the moment as to who should be in the Proteas’ starting 11. It’s all very confusing. 99% of these questions are about one thing: the number seven position.
Do we play an out and out batter? Or an all-rounder? Or should we rather go into the match with five bowlers? This is a subject we can talk about until we’re blue in the face. But I have another major concern: our number three spot.
Every single time that Mpumelelo “Pommie” Mbangwa has been commentator while Faf du Plessis walks out to bat, he says: “Faf du Plessis coming in now… in a position he has made his own”.
He says this every time, without fail, and I can’t help but wonder – exactly how has he made number three his own?
I’m a big Faf fan, and I always hope for him to score runs, but he reminds me of the seventh mate in the group – the one that drinks six pints and then heads home before his round, but always seems to get away with it because everyone else is focused on the task at hand.
It’s the same here: everyone is so focused on the number seven spot, that we’re all missing the fact that the player in the most important position is failing…. a lot.
Please don’t be the person who responds with “but he just scored a 50 against India!” Anyone who knows and loves cricket was expecting every ball to be his last during that knock. He looked horribly out of form, scoring about 15 runs over the keeper’s head or through the slip cordon. On the shot that sent him out, it looked like he was so frustrated by not finding the middle of his bat, that he decided to try hit his way into form. Epic fail.
He only scored 24 against Zimbabwe, 8 and 19 against New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the respective warm-up games, and 16, 4, 51* and 0 in the four ODIs against the West Indies. In 50-over matches this year (granted we’re only in the second month, but it’s a World Cup and we need players in form NOW), Faf’s sitting on an average of 25.28. At what point can the selectors decide enough is enough and give someone like Rilee a go at three?
In comparison, Rossouw has played seven 50-over games this year, scoring 0, 128, 7, 4, 132, 16*, 2, resulting in an average of 48.16.
Maybe we all sound like brats when we go on about the missing position in the team…batter or bowler, and now the number three spot. Did Jacques Kallis spoil us THAT much that we just don’t know what to do without him? I reckon so.
Faf – it’s time for you to show us what you’re all about. Maybe work on that leg-spin that looked so promising for a few years to add another option to the Proteas repertoire. Stop worrying about those shiny shoes, Gucci suit and hipster hairstyle. Focus on doing the thing that made us rate you so highly in the beginning.
Find that form, heart and desire that you had in Adelaide when you batted the Australians into the ground. If you can’t find that, then please step aside – because I can’t bare another World Cup to come and go without our name being on it. We need 11 players, all in form, if we’re going to stand a shot at the trophy.