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Pressure on Faf as SA eye improvement


The South African cricket team will be pleased that the one-day series is over and that they can move on to the T20 format.

The good news is that the shorter format can even up teams. A number of new players have joined the squad for the three-match series, replacing some of the 50-over specialists.

Faf du Plessis takes over the captaincy from AB de Villiers. De Villiers will more than likely enjoy the burden of captaincy being removed for the last few weeks of the tour. He has been under extreme pressure.

The weight of having to score runs and leading a struggling combination takes a toll on anyone. De Villiers is no exception.

Hopefully he can now return to playing his natural game and be the impact player that we have come to know so well. He should also take over the wicketkeeping duties again in order to provide the team with a better balance.

As much as De Villiers will enjoy the freedom of once again being just a player, the pressure will shift firmly on to Du Plessis.

The problem is that Faf has to take over the reins at a time when he is having a very lean patch with the bat.

He hasn't scored runs for some time and, on this tour in particular, he has looked at sea on the slower surfaces. It is not going to be easy to take over the leadership at a time when he is suffering from a confidence crisis.

For his sake and for the sake of the team I hope he starts the series well on Friday with the bat.

As a unit the Proteas will be hoping that they find the right combination for the T20 format. When they were here last year for the world T20 they had a disaster. They were eliminated from that tournament very early on.

The ICC World Twenty20 is in Bangladesh next year. Conditions in Bangladesh will be similar to the current conditions. The Proteas failed the trial by spin that Sri Lankan employed so effectively during the ODI series.

The same scenario will play itself out in the T20 series as far as the spinners are concerned.

The Proteas will hopefully come up with an answer over the next three matches that they can take forward with them to the World T20 next year. I guess we are at a point now where things can only get better.

We are all hoping that improvement starts tomorrow.


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