Some­thing must be done

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

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.

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