Opinion: Kuhn's no Cook, as du Plessis hides behind Philander

Slip Cordon

Jonhenry Wilson examines the state of the South African Test side following their 239-run defeat at the hands of England, and how new blood in the ranks could steady a listing ship. 

I was a bit disappointed by Faf du Plessis' comments after Monday's defeat to England in the third Test at The Oval. Du Plessis found somewhat of a scapegoat in Vernon Philander's illness - and didn't do his popularity any favours by only taking pride in the day five performance. Yes, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma's collective fight was admirable, but was entirely overshadowed by the previous four days' inadequacies.

This insistence that Chris Morris is a Test match all-rounder is getting old, quickly. The man is a solid enough limited-overs cricketer, not yet hampered by the fame and fortune of the Indian Premier League, but isn't the right pick in the longest format of the international game. While I can't offer a genuine long-term solution, yet, there would be no harm in blooding Andile Phehlukwayo in Manchester. He wasn't played enough in the Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom, where the Proteas missed a trick - and now is the time for some redemptive measure.

A second debutant in Aiden Markram would be welcomed, too. England, bravely so, played three rookies in the third Test. Tom Westley and Toby-Roland Jones did very well, while Dawid Malan's selection seemed a bit misplaced. South Africa would do swimmingly to debut Markram alongside Phehlukwayo later this week. I'm not suggesting this is the end of the road for Heino Kuhn, but Markram deserves a go. Initially brought in as batting cover, the Proteas need to view him as a fully-fledged member of their future - and affording him the chance to stride to the crease at Old Trafford would go a long way in doing this.

For all his runs at first-class level over the past couple of seasons, Kuhn really hasn't looked the part in London and surrounds. I dare suggest he has been called onto the biggest stage a year or two too late - and that faith in Stephen Cook should have been maintained. Cook didn't do himself a total service across the 11 Tests he has played so far - and I'm quite certain his technique would have been better suited to the challenging conditions evident in England.

Instead, he's busy scoring decent runs for Durham in the County Championship, while Kuhn battles to find his feet - literally and figuratively - alongside Elgar at the top of the knock. Elgar, well, is a wonderful anchor. Admittedly, my bias toward Graeme Smith-esque left-handers is rife, but there is no denying the calibre of the man and the cricketer. His decision to bat through the painful discomfort of a couple of injured fingers on days four and five at The Oval spoke volumes of his commitment - and he entirely deserved that century.

His conversion rate is supreme, with eight Test match half-tons now accompanied by as many centuries. And to think, he has never gone higher than the 140 gathered against New Zealand in Dunedin earlier this year. Opportunity, indeed, knocks for a 150-plus - and perhaps a maiden double century - at Old Trafford. Now there's a cheeky punt, if ever I've had one.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson s for @Hollywoodbets.net 

Published on 2 August 2017.

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