EDITORIAL │ Wiser to ‘drip-feed’ new SA players in
South Africa will be relatively satisfied with how things panned out during their ODI cricket series win against Sri Lanka, though there is still room for improvement.
With the World Cup looming in England next year, it would appear that coach Ottis Gibson is still not quite sure of the make-up of his team.
There is also the question of back-up players, who always have a vital role to play in a tournament where injuries often play a part. After starting like a house on fire with three thumping wins, the Proteas lost steam and were beaten in the last two games and struggled with their batting in last night’s T20.
With a cushion of an ODI series win, Gibson quite rightly decided to see how young blood would fare in the heat of battle.
Experimentation is needed because several players might decide to call time on their careers after the showpiece in England.
A B de Villiers and Morné Morkel have already retired and Faf du Plessis has hinted the World Cup could be his swan song. Other stalwarts like Hashim Amla‚ JP Duminy, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir could also be on their way out after the World Cup which ends at Lord’s on July 15.
Gibson’s decision to hand the captain’s armband to Quinton de Kock also raised eyebrows. De Kock had not appeared to be an obvious replacement for the injured Du Plessis. It was his first stint in a leadership position within the Proteas setup, although he captained the SA U19 in 2012. Justifying the decision, Gibson said De Kock’s elevation would help to grow the leadership group.
Though it is difficult to criticise a winning team, some selections for the final game raised question marks. Why David Miller was missing in the final game has come under the microscope. Critics argued that after indifferent innings in the first two matches‚ why not give Miller another chance to build his confidence and rest Hashim Amla?
Instead, Aiden Markram was brought back after being dropped in the wake of scoring nought and three. There will be more opportunities for Gibson to experiment and he would be well advised to drip-feed the new boys in slowly rather than to make wholesale changes.