Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: South African cricket needs patience and improvement

Opinion: South African cricket needs patience and improvement

If you truly love cricket and have any affection at all for the Proteas, the Test series against England has been unbearable to watch.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

A new-look South Africa team have only been able to beat the flawed but at times brilliant England when the tourists were confined to the SuperSport Park bogs.

The Barmy Army, by contrast, have enjoyed their time in South Africa. A large portion of their number only arrived in the New Year packing out Newlands to see Jos Buttler fat-shame Vernon Philander in his last Test at his beloved home ground.

As a team England have brought more to the series than the hosts who have gone missing for large portions of a series that seemed very winnable after the Boxing Day Test.

England skipper Joe Root returned to form, and their top order began to carry their weight for this first time in a long while. Ben Stokes showed that he was still Ben Stokes in every respect, winning matches and being a volatile personality.

Even the English tail have done their part, and their bowlers have kept the Proteas on the back foot for most of the series.

The groundsmen of the four host stadiums have all done their bit, producing precisely the type of the surfaces that the Proteas needed to beat the tourists, but the team have not risen to the occasion.

It would be unfair to lay the failures of the team at the feet of the new team director Mark Boucher or even Director of Cricket Graeme Smith.

The series against England was lost in the three or four years that preceded it when Cricket South Africa were unable to maintain the Proteas' star players appetite for international competition.

Looking forward, patience remains the key alongside diligent effort from everyone involved in the team.

Most of all, the Proteas need to shed the idea that what they need is more grit, pluck or whatever other cherished intangible. As trite as it sounds, they need to get better at cricket.

Boucher and his technical staff need to mould the batting unit into a Test quality side, and the same goes for the white-ball groups.

As hard to watch as this series was, the pain should spark development and clearly identify where the team needs to improve.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets 

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