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Changes need to be made

The white-ball phase of the current tour of England came to a disappointing end for the Proteas with defeat in the three-match T20 series. This follows below par performances in the one-day international series against England and the recently completed Champions Trophy. There will be no white ball cricket until October, when Bangladesh tour South Africa.

Some things need to be cleared up before then. The most pressing of those is the AB de Villiers situation. De Villiers himself needs to take a long hard look at his international cricket future. He alone can decide whether he still has the hunger to play at international level. He further needs to work out whether he is the right man for the captaincy role in the present circumstances.

If he does continue to play for South Africa, along with CSA, there has to be clarity on exactly what role he will play in the future. De Villiers has an excellent reputation in this country and worldwide, both as a player and an individual. However, recent events have had a negative effect on his reputation, and the last thing anyone wants to see is for the wonderful career De Villiers has had up to now to be spoilt in any way.

By the time South Africa take on Bangladesh in October a new coaching team should be in place. It is unclear at this point whether CSA will continue with a local coach or look elsewhere for a high profile international coach. The latter will be the right option in my view.

A further sensible change in structure could be to follow the current model England use. They appointed Andrew Strauss as team director. He is responsible for the coaching staff, selectors and all cricketing matters.

Since Strauss has taken on the role, England have prospered in all respects. He made some strong decisions which paid off, showing that an experienced international player in the team director role can work. CSA will be well advised to follow suit in this respect.

The other area of concern has been the dismal form of the South African A side on their current tour of England. Results have been poor and this has gone under the radar due to all the international matches that have been played. In the past, South African A team's have always been competitive, so the indifferent performances of the pipeline players is a huge concern.

Looking around the county circuit one can't help but feel that a number of South African players who are performing well for their respective counties would have strengthened the A team. The player drain is affecting the depth of South African cricket. The strength of the domestic game forms the basis of a good international team, and losing players who can make a contribution to the system in this respect is concerning.

The Proteas badly need to perform well during the upcoming test series to restore confidence. Beating England at home is never easy and this time it will require a special effort.

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