Opinion: Proteas’ bench strength to be tested in coming weeks

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Zondo, Klaasen and other fringe players need step up in the absence of de Villiers, du Plessis and de Kock.

South Africa won, but didn't dominate the Test series against India as they should have. They've since slipped to a deficit in the ODI leg of the tour - and will find the remainder pretty challenging in the absence of Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock.

Yes, AB de Villiers' return for the fourth match and beyond will restore a sense of calmness, but as great as he is, he's just one man. Khaya Zondo, Farhaan Behardien and company really have to step up alongside him, soon. There is no time for Zondo to simply find his feet - he must deliver, now. Behardien, too, has to silence plenty of critics, this week.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have made South Africa's wrist spinners, Tabraiz Shamsi and Imran Tahir, look like veritable schoolboy cricketers. They've mastered the art sound of economy and consistent breakthroughs - both, not one or the other, like Shamsi and Tahir are prone to.

The decision to give Aiden Markram the ODI captaincy is a bold one. One wonders how tempted the brains trust was to just leave it to JP Duminy. Markram’s appointment is the right step, in the correct direction, and backs up chief selector Linda Zondi’s so-called ‘Vision 2019’ plans.

This slew of injuries has certainly hastened Zondi and company’s bid to bulk up the bench strength ahead of next year’s World Cup, but they’re missing a few tricks - namely Pieter Malan and Reeza Hendricks.

If not the former, then surely the latter deserves another dig at international level. Hendricks is in tremendous form and - if not the ODIs - must play in the T20I against India. For now, though, Heinrich Klaasen is a solid option. He can bat up the order and, of course, keep wicket. However, what does Klaasen’s inclusion say to Mangaliso Mosehle, who seemed to be next in line?

This is also the right time for David Miller to truly demand his presence. With three key batsman sidelined, Miller and Duminy are effectively the main middle-order guns. As left-handers, too, they have an evident advantage against leg-spin turning into them, so Chahal must pose less of a threat.

There is no doubting India’s ability in ODI cricket, but the Proteas really shouldn’t have been as poor they have been. They can turn this around, but need to gel well. Here’s hoping Hashim Amla goes really big from here on, striking at least two tons in the remaining matches.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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