Cape Town - The Proteas are in danger of becoming as mediocre in international cricket as the current West Indies side, veteran commentator Michael Holding has warned.
Holding, who was a fast bowler for the West Indies during their heydays in the 1980s, is a television commentator in the current South Africa-England series.
England claimed an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series after beating South Africa in the third Test by seven wickets at the Wanderers on Saturday.
The loss also saw the Proteas relinquish their No 1 spot on the official ICC Test rankings.
In an interview in the Daily Telegraph, Holding identified similarities between South Africa and the West Indies.
“The first thing I identify is that West Indies lost a lot of their great players in that early to mid-1990s period. South Africa is in a similar situation,” said Holding.
The West Indies lost greats like Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Desmond Haynes and Jeff Dujon and Holding feels South Africa’s loss of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Mark Boucher is similar.
“West Indies had no forward planning, no succession plan, and I’m not too sure they (South Africa) do. What I’m seeing with this South Africa team, it seems as though they’re doing a lot of patchwork. Having an opener (Stiaan van Zyl) who is not really an opener - instead of saying OK, we have to plan for down the road. If you want to rebuild a team you can’t do patchwork, and the West Indies did a lot of that.”
Holding, 61, played 60 Tests for the West Indies, taking 249 wickets at an average of 23.68.
The once-mighty West Indies are currently ranked eighth in Test cricket and ninth in ODI cricket.