Buck up, Proteas – coach

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson at a practice session
Picture: Gallo Images/Sydney Seshibe

Gibson feels SA side must display more appetite for the fight in India series final

The Proteas must show a greater appetite for the fight as they attempt to salvage pride against India in Centurion on Friday night, coach Ottis Gibson says.

South Africa have been outbowled, outbatted and at times, outfielded by an Indian side that thumped them by 73 runs in the fifth one-day international at St George’s Park on Tuesday.

That victory also gave the tourists their very first ODI series triumph in South Africa and they take an unassailable 4-1 lead to tomorrow night’s final at SuperSport Park.

Disappointment etched on his face, Gibson on Tuesday called for his top order to stand up and be counted. “A bit more fight, I think. “I thought we succumbed quite easily, to be honest. To be bowled out in 42 overs is very disappointing.

“Even with the bowling there were some soft boundaries – [this] has gone on the whole series,” Gibson said after the match. “Just a bit more fight with the bat. “The Indian spinners took five wickets again – [in] almost every game they have picked up five wickets.

“I know they are very good, but we are also better than we have shown with the bat and I’d just like to see us actually improve ourselves in that regard.”

With Aiden Markram being upstaged by a performing captain Virat Kohli, there are questions being asked in some quarters, fairly or unfairly, about Markram’s ability to both skipper and make runs at this stage of his career.

On Tuesday night, Gibson stood by his call to promote Markram to the captaincy after Faf du Plessis tapped out injured after the first match of the series.

Gibson said he needed to find out how the dual role had affected Markram.

“Aiden Markram has been asked to captain and he’s shown some glimpses. I don’t know whether that has been too much for him. It’s something I will have to review myself.

“I don’t know if the whole responsibility around captaincy has been too much for him, but it seems to me he’s trying to bat in a way that is not the Aiden Markram that I saw in September. “I’ve spoken to him about that,” the former West Indian quick bowler said.

“This was a decision for the future. It wasn’t a decision for now.

“Aiden has shown all the hallmarks of someone who is going to be a good leader. We felt with Faf out that we could give him that opportunity.

“Looking back, I think it was the right decision. I’m not going to second-guess myself, I think it was the right decision.”

Gibson praised the Indian side, especially their top three batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli, and their wristspinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, for the crucial roles they have played in the series. “A lot of credit must go to India. In almost every game their top three scored a hundred. That’s been the difference in the whole series.

“We got one hundred through Du Plessis in Durban and we’ve not [managed] another one since.

“It’s not that we can’t, because Hashim [Amla] has got 20-something hundreds.

“He knows how to make hundreds in one-day international cricket but he’s not been allowed to, in the way they’ve bowled, or the lack of confidence in our batting, or the way we have played.”

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