Proteas downgraded after latest ratings
With the Champions Trophy now a thing if the past for South Africa, we look back at the tournament performances of each player during their ill-dated Group B fixtures and find their efforts were close to junk
1 AB de Villiers: He came into the tournament feeling bullish about the team’s chances, but that optimism proved desperately misguided. Looked like a man under pressure and his lack of runs and dynamism in the middle-order hurt the team. Looked in ominous touch on Sunday, but his run-out summed up what he still symbolises in the team. Questions persist about him being the right man to lead the side. It’s a question he may do well to ask himself over the winter, as he now has just one, big tournament left in him. 2 out of 10 2 Quinton de Kock: The keeper/batsman came into the Champions Trophy in good touch, and was expected to show the form that culminated in him being ICC ODI Player of the Year. Given his record against sub-continent teams, a return of one, stuttering half-century us a poor return. He looked to be playing under instructions against India, which goes against everything that he brings to the table. His keeping remains in perfect working order. 4 3 Hashim Amla: He started the tour with the assurance of old, driving and flicking his way to 7000 ODI runs in record time. With that platform for the summer, and then the century against Sri Lanka, it looked as if he was the rock upon which many a victory would be built once more. However, the opening game was as good as it got. He and De Kock always set the tone, and they got their rhythm all wrong against India, starting too slowly, and allowing the opposition to dictate. He is another who will know that the end is a lot closer than the beginning. 5
4 Faf du Plessis: Another who would admit that his run return didn’t do justice to the form. Du Plessis has been tasked with a two-fold role at No 3: consolidate in the face of early setbacks, or go through the gears if the game is set up. He did that against Sri Lanka at a the Oval, his 75 going a long way to easing tension and securing an opening win. However, his tournament will be remembered for two run-outs he was a part of against India. Du Plessis is the supposed people’s favourite to captain in all formats, but he needs to show his own calm when under the pump. 3 5 JP Duminy: Another meagre return from a man whose talent is clearly apparent. Duminy’s 38 not out against Sri Lanka was useful. However, the nation was ready to overlook dozens of false Duminy dawns, if he delivered just one parachute job against Pakistan or India. None came forth. Had Rilee Rossouw not been a turncoat, Duminy would surely have been
benched, and he must be a concerned man about his future, because there are young men knocking on the door. 2/10.
6 David Miller: Long acknowledged as a blaster of the sincerest quality, he revealed another side to his game against Pakistan. Given the circumstances, his half-century was worth three figures to his team. He showed restraint and even relish for a task that was as close to Test cricket as he has come. As all else fell around him, he stood firm. However, that same composure went walkabout against India, when he charged off for a single only he could explain. That howler affected him on the field that day, as he also let through some regulation stops. 6 7 Chris Morris: The team’s main allrounder was solid. His bowling, which is his main gig, still lacks control at times, though he does have the happy knack of taking wickets. With the bat, he found himself in far sooner than he is accustomed to, though he did have stout support to Miller against Pakistan. He remains one of the real effort-men in the side, always chirping, always hoping. It’s no bad thing. 5
8 Wayne Parnell: The second coming by the left-armer seemed to be on track against England at Lord’s, but he lost the radar again soon after. Along with Duminy, he must rate as one of South African cricket’s great mysteries; a man of considerable talent, but only shows it in patches. Hard to say where he goes next, because there have been plenty of chances to immerse himself as the new-ball guy. Showed nothing with the bat, pouring further scorn on the claim of four allrounder options in the squad. 2
9 Kagiso Rabada: Came into the tournament as top bowler in the world, and was largely treated as such by the opposition. That respect meant not too many risks being taken with the young tearaway, but he will be disappointed that he didn’t strike more often. Bowled with real gas at times, but his standards are such that he would want that to translate to wickets. Continues to show promise with the bat, and must be encouraged in that sense. May well be elevated into that “allrounder” claims department soon. 5
10 Morne Morkel: He’s back. After the injuries, the lay-off, and the doubts about the future, Morkel ran in like the wind and was the handful of old. His opening spell against Pakistan nearly snatched a game that the Proteas didn’t deserve, and they may well rue not bowling Morkel through on that occasion. His pace was up, his length fuller, and fingers will be crossed that he maintains all that and fitness for the Test series. He remains as the most experienced bowler in the squad, and he played like it. South Africa’s one bright bit of news from a grim tournament. 7
11 Imran Tahir: Brilliant against Sri Lanka, bubbled over against Pakistan, and never gave up against India. How SA wish Tahir was 28, not 38, because he plays with enough desire to charge up a power-station. Tahir loves taking wickets for his country, and he did so against Sri Lanka, to finish off a game that was not as straightforward as the final result suggested. Possibly tried too hard against Pakistan but his fielding that day was such a revelation that his native countrymen couldn’t recognise him. Never had enough runs to play with against India, but he scrapped to the bitter end. More men of his ilk are needed. 6 12 Andile Phehlukwayo: Youngster of much potential replaced Parnell for the final game, which was a tough baptism of fire against India. Looked nervy with the bat. On the field, he was fairly solid, but was beaten by the bounce on the fence, to the delight of the Indian revellers behind him. With ball in hand, he held his nerve against a rampant Kohli, and very nearly had him caught at slip. Wold have learnt platefuls from the experience, and will go again. 4 Keshav Maharaj, Dwaine Pretorius and Farhaan Behardien did not play a game.