Another T20 International and yet another failure in the books for South Africa. They managed to post 231 at the Wanderers and yet they conspired to allow the West Indies to chase it down with relative ease. It is a tiresome sight seeing the Proteas under perform in a limited overs series especially T20.
The coaching staff and senior players need to take action to bring South Africa's performances in this arena to respectable level otherwise South Africa will remain perennial underachievers in limited overs cricket.
The Proteas have moved away from fielding separate test and T20 squads; rather they have adopted an approach similar to Sri Lanka by keeping a few core squad members in all forms of the game and supplementing them with specialist T20 players and a few youngsters. The problem arises when one observes barring in a ICC tournament that these core players rarely play together in T20 Internationals.
This is most probably why Sri Lanka sits atop the ICC T20I Rankings, they rarely if ever rest players and consistently start a set line up of their best players and produce results series after series, tournament after tournament, something South Africa struggle with immensely.
The Proteas need to stop taking T20 for granted and using it simply as the equivalent to the meaningless cup game in football, simply a chance to tinker with the team and give youngsters game time. These are competitive internationals and they should be treated as such, resting players and experimenting when the series is won is another story, but the Proteas don't win many T20s now do they.
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Pick players on performance not reputation
No player should have his spot in a national team guaranteed, there will always be incumbent players who select themselves on the basis on their consistent and world class play, all players are not Faf du Plessis or Dale Steyn, the rest must produce at domestic level to earn a spot in the national team.
Looking at stats from the RAM Slam T20 Challenge, South Africa's Domestic T20 tournament, one will find that from the leading- run- scorers- and- wicket- takers only Riza Hendricks features in the T20 squad, which begs the question if these players don't get the job done why are they still being selected.
A prime example is Farhaan Behardien who failed to produce any fireworks on the international stage despite being given ample chance to prove himself, sport is not a place niceties the South African management need to select the best team possible every time even if they have to omit big names who under perform.
Get the tactics right
When Kyle Abbott bowled to Chris Gayle at the Wanderers, on Sunday, he seemed to have only one plane, bowl yorkers, when that failed he went back to it until he had no choice but to resort to the bounce which was almost telegraphed and was rightly deposited onto the grass bank.
Faf's field settings on the day were even more confusing, giving bowlers little room for error and very little option but to bowl a very predictable line and length. The bowling attack may have been without Steyn and Morkel, but nothing could excuse such mental failings on the side of South Africa.
The Proteas need to leave behind the Plan A and B mentality and begin to explore flexible and versatile tactics which can be adapted to various situations, there will be days when you will be simply beaten by a better team, however, having a solid game plan can go a long way to reducing the frequency of such matches.
South Africa need to take T20 cricket seriously and not simply use it as an excuse to rest players. Top players need game time especially when they need to adapt from one format to the next. The Proteas need to take stock of their limited overs strategy overall if they wish to see any progress.
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