Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: The Proteas Test misery in Asia is no mystery

The Proteas Test misery in Asia is no mystery

At the peak of Graeme Smith's powers as captain of a formidable Proteas team, they became one of the best teams at visiting Asia, in recent times that has fallen by the wayside, and the team would consider themselves lucky to avoid heavy defeats.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

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South Africa has vastly improved its spin stocks, but batting ability on turning wickets has evaporated.

The Proteas have lost seven consecutive Test matches in Asia, a run that started during the infamous 2015 tour of India when they were greeted by a series of raging turners. Despite the difficulty on that tour, the margins between failure and possible success were narrower than they may at first appear.

In their last three series in Asia, the Proteas have only had four batsmen manage a series average of higher than 50, a far cry from the incredible effort of Jacques Kallis in Pakistan in 2007. Kallis scored a pair of centuries in the first Test of the 2007 series in Karachi. South Africa return to the scene of those heroics 14 years on but without any great confidence in their top-order.

It is no secret that Proteas batsmen's weakness against spin has been their undoing in Asia, but that hasn't made it any easier for coaches to improve the displays.

Every time they visit the subcontinent, it seems that the batsmen trot out the same cliche's and batsman's aphorisms with endless chat about gameplans and intent failing to translate into actual performance.

It should be noted that the Proteas batting has generally taken a dip with the retirements of Smith, Kallis, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla leaving holes that have yet to really be filled. Kallis and Amla are still the only men to score three hundreds in a single series in Asia.

There is no single thing that batsmen can do that will be a magic bullet to improve in Asia. Still, when they arrive in Pakistan, it is evident that the Proteas batsmen will need to make the most of their innings when they are able to settle in, as the loss of wickets in clusters has plagued the team in recent Test series on turners.

The team have turned to Neil Mackenzie to oversee batting development across the board and could benefit from his recent experiences coaching in Asia.

Ultimately the likes of Kallis, De Villiers, Amla and Smith could lean on their experiences of past innings where they overcame the foreign conditions and led the team to triumphs or at the very least save Test matches.

In the current crop, it will seemingly fall to Faf du Plessis to hold things together, but the former skipper desperately needs backup if the team are to avoid humiliation in Pakistan.

Written by James Richardson.

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