Stuart Hess highlights five areas of concern in the Proteas ODI team and how they are being dealt with.
The numbers say it all really: 367 runs, an average of 91.75, a strike rate of 92.91, one century, three half-centuries, seven catches and most importantly as far as he is concerned, three victories. This series may very well have been the making of De Villiers as captain, keeper, batsman, as he appears to have successully married the three components while making himself the most valuable member of the side.
His keeping and batting are fine, the captaincy needs improvement, but that is by everyone’s admission, still ‘a work in progress’.
Maintaining control of the overrates remains an issue which could lead to further financial punishment or worse, suspension.
* DEATH BOWLING
Allan Donald set himself up for trouble when he remarked that “Nailing yorkers is our No1priority.” It’s all well and good the bowling coach saying that, but South Africa’s bowlers battled with execution. The tendency is still to try too much – slower balls, bouncers, slower ball bouncers – and while variety is good, when it comes to the ‘death’ of the innings, ‘nailing yorkers’ has sadly been missing.
There have been some envious glances cast in the direction of the Titans who have won a few domestic T20 matches on the back of some superb bowling by Alfonso Thomas at the end of the opposing team’s innings. Someone should try and rope him in.
* LONWABO TSOTSOBE
His statistics for the series don’t make for good reading – six wickets at an average of 42.66, with an economy rate of 5.73 – but overall his performance was reasonable. Still, that is not good enough for someone still ranked among the top 10 ODI bowlers in the world. Tsotsobe failed to make enough of an impact with the new ball in this series and his second and third spells have lacked quality.
He must get fitter. He bowled better when Morné Morkel returned to accompany Dale Steyn and applied pressure in the final match, which indicated that Tsotsobe is only close to his best when others are keeping a tight rein on scoring. Should still be under pressure for a starting spot in the Champions Trophy, with the likes of Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy returning to bolster the bowling.
A resounding success throughout the series. Took advantage of good foundations provided by the top order in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg to bolster South Africa’s totals and when they needed to scrap and bat time after some failings by the top three they did that too.
Farhaan Behardien showed his adaptability, grabbing his opportunity with some excellent knocks in Bloemfontein, Centurion and Benoni and when called upon for the final two matches Dave Miller did the same. Faf Du Plessis and Duminy are likely to return for the Champions Trophy, but now there’s enough in reserve to please Kirsten and the selectors.
A series win was imperative, given all the rotating and exploring that’s taken place with personnel in the ODI side. But as far as game-to-game results are concerned, the ability to string wins together – which is what will be needed in order to win a tournament – remains absent. South Africa’s record in their last 12 ODIs is: Win, lose, lose, win, lose, lose, win, win, lose, win, lose, win.
For the purposes of tournament success that kind of inconsistency will have to be resolved.