Proteas need to clear the confusion
The Proteas were well under par against India in the first match of the Champions Trophy. It was a disappointing performance that lacked a clear strategy as well as clarity of thought.
This performance was another example of the mire of confusion that currently reigns in the Protea set-up when it comes to one-day cricket.
The problem started before the match when Dale Steyn was ruled out of the game due to a side strain. This was compounded further when Morne Morkel pulled up lame during the match through a quad injury.
Steyn and Morkel have been very good when it comes to fitness. They hardly get injured but this time the effects of a long domestic season followed by the rigours of the IPL took its toll.
The South African bowling attack didn’t have their best day to say the least. After winning the toss and bowling first it was essential that the seam bowlers in particular settled down quickly and bowled the right line and length.
Unfortunately neither happened and the bowlers persisted in bowling too short on a slow surface. This made things easy for the Indian batsman.
On the batting front the Proteas were in with a real chance of winning the match due to an excellent partnership between AB de Villiers and Robin Petersen. Unfortunately, within the space of a few overs, two suicidal run-outs put paid to any chance that South Africa had of winning the match.
The match on Monday against Pakistan at Edgbaston now becomes a must win game. In order to win this match and stay in the competition the coaching staff will have to work on a game plan that involves clear role definition.
After assessing the fitness of Steyn they will have to give some serious thinking to the combination selected to face Pakistan in this match.
Pakistan are strong in bowling and weaker in batting. With Morkel now out and Steyn doubtful, the pressure will be firmly on the likes of Tsotsobe, McLaren and Kleinveldt to step up to the plate. Robin Petersen as well will have to bowl his full quota of overs.
The Proteas can beat Pakistan and remain in the tournament. They will have to raise their performance by 50 per cent in all aspects to achieve this. Let’s hope they do. It will be rather depressing to see our boys have an early exit from yet another ICC event.