Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: Proteas still plotting a path out of the darkness

Opinion: Proteas still plotting a path out of the darkness

Proteas still plotting a path out of the darkness

The Proteas aren't out of the woods yet in terms of where the team stands across all three formats, but the summer as a whole has had some promising notes.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

The Test series defeat to England provided the Proteas with a miserable low point to the summer while the ODI series triumph over Australia finished off a white-ball programme where hope returned for cricket fans.

A big plus for Team Director Mark Boucher has been the ability to successfully trial several prospects for the Proteas limited-overs teams.

Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock showed promise as an opening pair, and the Proteas showed off terrific depth in pace bowling options throughout the T20I and ODI series against England and Australia.

Middle-order options now abound thanks to the resurgence of Heinrich Klaasen and another season of consistent improvement from Rassie van der Dussen.

The hundreds scored by Klaasen and Janneman Malan in the ODI wins over Australia were particularly significant because they represented top-order batsmen carrying the Proteas innings through.

Malan and Klaasen are very good white-ball players who could make the most of their positioning to force a way into a Test team that desperately needs some impetus in the top order.

Lungi Ngidi getting back to his best just as Kagiso Rabada was ruled out for the series against Australia was another piece of excellent timing for Boucher and company who were already starting to feel the heat.

The task that lies ahead that is of the highest priority for Boucher is getting the T20I side sorted out before the World Cup, but ODI successes by fringe players make that challenging.

South Africa's next assignment is a brief tour to India, and then they have the June trip to Sri Lanka, by which time the team director will know if he can call on veterans AB de Villiers, Chris Morris and Imran Tahir for the T20 World Cup.

The Proteas are expected to play eight T20Is between now and the World Cup in October, and the positives of the ODI series against Australia might not shine too much light on the path to the next major championship.

There is a sense of resurgence around the Proteas unit, but Boucher will know his honeymoon period is already almost up, and international cricket is a results business.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets 

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