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Proteas not prioritising T20 series





With the exception of the demise of the Proteas, I enjoyed the Champions Trophy. The system used in the tournament is a good one.

Having the top eight teams in the world contesting the trophy ensures a high standard and plenty of surprises. There are no meaningless matches in the event, as there sometimes are in the World Cup. The tournament has momentum from the beginning and there is no margin for error.

The most interesting part of the event for me was that the two finalists, Pakistan and India, embraced the values of bowling that were so successful in one-day cricket years ago.

The most telling aspect of this was the return of the successful execution of the yorker. Pakistan, in particular, were brilliant in this aspect.

Many teams including South Africa have gone away from this tactic towards the back end of an innings because the feeling is that this strategy has become too predictable and batsmen have more shot options at the end of the innings. In my view, this is a cop-out and a feeble defence against not being able to execute this delivery under pressure.

Pakistan have a talented bowling group but, by the same token, they had a simple formula for success. They used the new ball well, were consistent through the middle of the innings by reverse swinging the ball, and brilliant at the end by executing their yorkers at pace.

They have moved ahead in this respect and some of the more fancied teams have some catching up to do in this respect. On the whole, Pakistan was outstanding in this event and thoroughly deserved their win.

Meanwhile, the Proteas tour continues in the UK with the T20 series starting on Wednesday. After losing the one-day series I find it difficult to understand that the selectors have decided to play this series with a team that is well below full strength.

They did the same in South Africa last season against Sri Lanka and the result was far from ideal. There is no Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy or Hashim Amla for the series. They are being rested for the test series.

The message this sends is that the T20 matches are not high up on the priority list. My question is if this is the case and the tour itinerary is too demanding, why agree to the T20 series in the first place.

If this is the thought process it would have been better to have the initial one-day series, the Champions Trophy, and then a short break before going straight into the test matches.

It won't be good for morale if a below-strength South African unit is beaten by England after the disappointment of the one-day series and the setback of the Champions Trophy.

Hopefully, this group of players will respond to the challenge and win the series. If they don't, the test series will be the only opportunity left to restore confidence and faith in the team. That in itself will be a tough ask against a strong England team.


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