5 takeaways from Proteas’ tri-series tour

Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)
Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South Africa ended the first half of their year with a loss to the West Indies on Friday as the tournament hosts knocked out the Proteas in the ‘semi-final’ of the Tri-Nation series, winning by 100 runs.

The Proteas are now on a month-long break and will resume only at the end of August with Test series against New Zealand and Australia.

However, South Africa have less than a year to prepare for the next major tournament, with the 2017 Champions Trophy scheduled to begin in June in England.

AB de Villiers’ men appear far from equipped to lift their first silverware since 1998 and considering their performance in the West Indies, here are five things the Proteas can take away from the Caribbean series:

1. Imran Tahir proved he’s SA’s best spinner

Tahir was one of the standout performers for South Africa, leading the wicket-taking tally with 13 from six games.

The leg spinner took two bowling records for South Africa, when he became the fastest to clock 100 wickets landing it in 58 games, and when he took the best bowling figures by a South African with 7/45.

Tahir, 37, revealed that he is in it for the long haul and plans to play in the next World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in England and Wales in 2019.

With Tahir at the front, supported by Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso, the Proteas' spin bowling attack is prospering and looking dangerous.

2. South African middle order continues to struggle

If the Proteas want to win matches, the entire team needs to contribute and yes, I’m talking to those middle order batsmen.

The middle-order, which comprises of JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, Wayne Parnell and Chris Morris, haven't produced any runs of late, which contributed to South Africa's middle order collapse in the last match against the West Indies.

3. Selection quota can be reached, but at what cost?

Since SA Sports Minister Fikile Mbabula sanctioned cricket and other sporting entities from bidding for any major events due to their lack of transformation, Cricket South Africa has been keeping a close eye in maintaining its target.

South Africa needs to meet their target of 60% and have done so when they fielded (for the first time ever) eight players of colour in their starting eleven against Australia in the third match.

However, in the last three matches the team fielded six players of colour, failing to meet Mbabula's transformation goals, which begs the question: can South Africa reach transformation goals and win games?

South Africa have had to juggle with Morné Morkel, who only played for two games (although the first game was rained out), and they had to go along with playing out-of-form JP Duminy.

This proves that South Africa need to find the magic formula that comprises of playing a match-winning team and making Mbabula happy.

4. Russell Domingo's tenure on thin ice

2016 has already been a year to forget for the Proteas and especially head coach Russell Doming after losing our No 1 Test ranking, failing to win another World Cup and now losing another series away from home.

The ongoing pressure on Domingo has heightened and it looks like severe action needs to be taken if South Africa fail to win at home against Sri Lanka in December this year.

5. Proteas relying on top four

The team's top order batsmen, which consist of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis has made the bulk of the runs this tournament.

It was evident that South Africa rely too heavily on the impact of the first four batsmen and this illustrates how weak our middle order is compared to the talent in the top order.

If South Africa want to win games, they need to stop relying on De Villiers and Amla.

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