By Yasin Razak
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY.
Viewers filled with #ProteaFire would have looked forward to the tour of Sri Lanka with great anticipation. With a few new faces added to the squad, many would have been eager to see the refreshed squad battle in a series against a competitive Sri Lankan side. The mood wasn’t all confident though, as some nervously waited to see how the side would fare in the absence of the phenomenal AB de Villiers.
Having played a total of 8 competitive games, and winning just 3, the tour in terms of results was somewhat disappointing. Ranked 2nd in the ICC Test rankings, South Africa will feel a clear sense of underachievement after having suffered a whitewash defeat in the 2 match test series. The clear weakness in the team’s test performance was the batting. Struggling to play spin in admittedly challenging conditions meant the team was seldom in a position to push for a victory.
The Proteas bounced back well at the start of the One Day International (ODI) series with 3 consecutive victories – with man of the match performances from Shamsi (4/33), De Kock (84) and ODI debutant Reeza Hendricks (102) respectively. The remaining 2 games resulted in losses, but on a positive note, JP Duminy was named man of the series. He then captained the side in the final game of the series, a T20 which the proteas lost by 3 wickets.
It is clear that the results are not what Ottis Gibson’s side (nor most of the supporters) would call pleasing. However, with some promising young players coming through and more in the pipeline (like Zubayr Hamza), the potential is there to maintain the high standard of cricket associated with the Proteas.