Something must be done
RUN OUT – it’s one of the most wasteful and frustrating ways of losing a wicket in a cricket match. On Sunday, three of South Africa’s batsmen – including two of the best in AB de Villiers and David Miller – were run out in a must-win match against India in the Champions Trophy in London.
The net result? Yet again the Proteas choked when confronted with a match of this kind, despite being the world’s No 1-ranked team in the oneday format. That top-ranked status, earned by virtue of success against all-comers over the long term, shows that the South African team have the game plans, calibre of players and management structures to thrive at the highest level.
But it is the short, sharp multi-nation tournaments that have proved a bridge too far. So the questions have to be asked: Has time run out for some players in the team, and has time run out for De Villiers as captain of the national team in the 50-over format?
There has been a fair bit of change among the bowlers, and even though this department contains the oldest member of the team in 38-yearold Imran Tahir, he has repeatedly stepped up with match-turning bowling performances.
On Sunday the batsmen, flustered by those run-outs, did not build a defendable total against one of the best limited-overs combinations in the business.
Many would perhaps not even have given the Proteas much of a chance before the match, but Virat Kohli’s men are not unbeatable.
The first five spots in the batting order appear to be secure, and although it may be churlish to point a finger at the next man in the order, JP Duminy, has he been delivering often enough?
De Villiers says he believes he can still lead South Africa to victory in the 10-team 2019 World Cup, but perhaps this is one area where change should come soonest. Faf du Plessis has brought a calmer, more astute presence to the captaincy in Tests and T20s. Maybe he should lead in ODIs too.
One thing’s for sure, some changes have to be made. Not willy-nilly changes, but something must be done.