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Proteas demise must lead to change





Another ICC event has come and gone and ended with the now familiar disappointment for the Proteas. In some of those tournaments in years gone by, South Africa played well and were beaten by better teams on the day. That happens in sport.

Sadly the same can't be said of the team in this event. They played well below par initially in the first two matches against England in the three match series before the tournament. Although they beat Sri Lanka comfortably in the first match of the Champions Trophy, there were cracks clearly visible even in victory.

Against Pakistan the Proteas were well beaten by the lowest ranked team in the event. In disturbing fashion, they produced their worst performance in the knockout match against India when they were very tentative and allowed the pressure of the situation to determine the outcome.

Clearly some things have to be changed going forward. The coaching staff is under review and will be in charge until the end of the England tour.

The demise of the team in this tournament should lead to change in this respect. Some members of the current coaching group have presided over numerous ICC event failures. There has been some good performances between tournaments, but as we know being ranked number one in the world means little if the team continually fails at major events.

At this stage the hope is that a coaching staff will be appointed that will challenge the players a great deal more in an effort to help them harden up under pressure and perform better on the world tournament stage.

The other issue that has to be dealt with is the AB de Villiers situation. De Villiers is a super star and he has performed brilliantly over a long period of time for this country.

However brilliant he may be, it is simply too disruptive for him to come and go at will within the Proteas equation, particularly as captain.

De Villiers himself has some decisions to make. He alone knows whether the hunger to play at this level is still there. If so, everyone will be delighted if he commits to the cause. If not, no one will fault him in any way if he wants to move out of the international spotlight and pursue the T20 circuit. Unfortunately there is no middle ground, and De Villiers has to make a call in conjunction with what should be a new coaching group that comes on board in August.

There are also numerous players in the group who will be under pressure to hold their positions after this tour. The South African A side is in England as well at present, and they were demolished in the one day series by their counterparts the England Lions. Not many players in that group have put their hands up to put pressure on the established players in the Proteas team. The much talked about pipeline will have to step up as well.

In the mean time there is a full test series against a high flying England in the offing. Before that there are three T20 matches against England as well.

It will be Faf du Plessis' job as captain to resurrect the tour after this setback. He is good under pressure and has led the team superbly in the past. If anyone can do it, he can.


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