Proteas

More lefties, Magala entry? Boucher seeks answers to improve Proteas

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South African batsman David Miller
South African batsman David Miller
Aamir QURESHI / AFP
  • The Proteas are licking their wounds after another series defeat to Pakistan, with head coach Mark Boucher seeking ways to improve the team.
  • Boucher suggested adding another left-handed batsman to fill the top order void left by Quinton de Kock and David Miller.
  • Sisanda Magala could solve death bowling worries if he is fit to start in the first T20 on Saturday.

Stumped at how to stem the successive series losses his team has suffered, Proteas head coach Mark Boucher is desperately looking for ways to improve the team after defeat to Pakistan in the ODI series.

South Africa lost the third ODI decider in Centurion by 28 runs when a depleted Proteas side, bereft of five IPL stars and top-order mainstay Rassie van der Dussen, succumbed to another series defeat to Pakistan.

The Proteas lost both the Test and T20 series in Pakistan in January and were looking for better outcomes on home turf.

However, it wasn’t to be, as a Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam inspired the Pakistan team who tore the hosts to shreds.

Boucher said after Wednesday’s match that the Proteas needed to explore including more left-handed batsmen in the line-up.

READ | Proteas fall short to Pakistan: 5 talking points from the ODI series

The problem Boucher’s got is that, when David Miller and Quinton de Kock are unavailable, it would be difficult to find a ready-made international calibre lefty.

Players waiting in the wings as well such as Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon, plus those who filled in for the missing IPL stars, Janneman Malan and Kyle Verreynne, are all right-hand bats.

"One thing I can say was quite a miss, what’s been quite effective over the last three games, is that there’s always been a short boundary," said Boucher.

"And having a left-hand and right-hand combination does put bowlers under pressure, as we saw with our bowlers on Wednesday.

"No having a left-hander in the top six is something we really need to look at. You don’t always want to play on grounds where there’s one short end but it seems to be happening quite a lot in South Africa at the moment and it’s something we need to think about going forward.

"We need to find a couple of left-handers in our top six."

Boucher was also troubled by the Proteas’ defence when bowling at the death, something that hampered them in the 1st ODI loss and didn’t go down well in their 2nd ODI win, either, even though they held on for victory.

South Africa’s best domestic death bowler Sisanda Magala is also bubbling under, waiting for his first opportunity to don the national jersey.

He has, however, struggled to clear the Proteas fitness bar and it appears that could also get in the way of him featuring in the T20 series against Pakistan that begins this Saturday.

"In the last two overs I think there were over 40 runs scored," Boucher said.

"If we can bring that down to 25, then we will give ourselves a better chance to win tight games.

"We would like Magala to play [but] there are fitness criteria that needs to be followed within our setup. And there are no grey areas around that.

"We’re just waiting on a fitness test and if he passes, he’ll play."

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