Proteas set to bloom

Cape Argus - - OPINION -

PROTEAS cap­tain Faf du Plessis had ev­ery rea­son to be cheer­ful when he jet­ted into Cape Town on Fri­day. Du Plessis left the tour of Sri Lanka to have work done on his in­jured shoul­der, but he was clearly very pleased with the ODI se­ries vic­tory.

Yes, the Proteas lost the last two matches, in­clud­ing a dra­matic col­lapse yes­ter­day, but when you have wrapped up a se­ries 3-0, it’s only hu­man to lose a bit of fo­cus there­after.

“The vi­sion my­self and Gibbo (coach Ot­tis Gib­son) have is all about how we are go­ing to win the World Cup.

“I think you can see the guys are play­ing an ex­cit­ing brand of cricket. There are a few young faces play­ing fear­less cricket,” said the skip­per.

Those “few young faces” Du Plessis was re­fer­ring to would in­clude Reeza Hen­dricks, Lungi Ngidi and Tabraiz Shamsi, all of whom played key roles in the ODI se­ries vic­tory.

The emer­gence of Hen­dricks, in par­tic­u­lar, will have warmed the hearts of all South African cricket fans, as there is a huge gap to be filled in the top or­der af­ter the re­tire­ment of su­per­star AB de Vil­liers.

Ngidi has formed a po­tent com­bi­na­tion with fel­low fast bowler Kag­iso Rabada, and spin­ner Shamsi will be able to add much-needed va­ri­ety to the South African bowl­ing at­tack.

And there have been other pos­i­tives too. Af­ter wor­ries about their form, Hashim Amla and JP Du­miny have showed that they are not yet ready for the scrapheap.

At their best, Amla and Du­miny are two stroke play­ers of the high­est or­der and they would love to have a glo­ri­ous swan­song at next year’s World Cup in Eng­land.

Be­cause, in the end, as Du Plessis pointed out, it is all about the World Cup. We all know the years and years of bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment the Proteas have en­dured at suc­ces­sive World Cups, and this team, like oth­ers be­fore them, will be des­per­ate to wipe those night­mares ot of our col­lec­tive mem­ory banks.

So far, so good then. There is a strong pos­i­tive vibe from the South African camp at the mo­ment, and with 16 ODIs left un­til the start of the World Cup, the Proteas have the op­por­tu­nity to build on this cur­rent mo­men­tum and ar­rive at the World Cup fully primed for a strong shot at glory.

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