Kaymo's Korner: Current Proteas ODI team must be nurtured

2013-08-05 10:00

If South Africa go on to win the 2015 World Cup, their recent struggle against Sri Lanka will be looked back on as the starting point of a wave that reached its height just before the sand.

Not to get ahead of myself, though – they still have some way to go.

OK, maybe that’s an understatement. They are very much in the middle of the Great Pacific garbage patch, with no trade winds to push them ashore.

Before members of the South African public entertain any thoughts of a world-beating team, the Proteas’ ODI players need to find themselves, and there are less than two years and 25 ODIs to do it in.

Granted, it’s the first ODI assignment for the coaching staff under Russell Domingo and Adrian Birrell and, to some extent, the trip was more exploratory than anything else.

But the absence of senior players needs to be called into question.

Calling them a motley crew would be taking it too far but only three of the squad in Robin Peterson, JP Duminy and AB de Villiers, have been to Sri Lanka before.

The key players in the current team will be the nucleus around which the 2015 team will be built, but it needs to generate the same kind of heat that the core at the centre of the Earth uses to keep the magnetic poles apart.

The team that was fielded in Sri Lanka is the best we have available and they must be nurtured.

But there has to come a time when the senior players look at themselves in the mirror and realise it is up to them to move the team into a new era.

Playing in Sri Lanka is not as challenging as it was in the late 1980s and 1990s, but there seemed to be a lack of fight that permeated the technique and mind-set.

I have seen South African teams not pitch up for matches mentally, but it seemed there was a stronger force at play in Sri Lanka.

I won’t delve into technique, but the kamikaze rate of dismissals and the lead-footedness against spin can’t be dismissed.

That can only be sorted out once the team settles into its groove. While the thrashing cannot be excused, the team is still an experimental one and in due course it will come together.

Tough decisions will have to be taken for the good of the team. The Proteas are in the same position as the Australians, who are also in test flux.

At least they have their senior players to push them through this period.

On another note, this column will retire injured and resume its innings on September 8.

» khanyiso.tshwaku@citypress.co.za

» Follow me on Twitter @kaymorizm

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