Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

OPINION: More questions than answers as Proteas head to T20 World Cup

The Proteas will head to Australia low on confidence, with key players out of form and others having not played recently.

The Proteas will go into the T20 World Cup in Australia having lost the T20 and ODI series to India, in India.

The odd thing is the Proteas have spent the last week playing ODI cricket, just days before a T20 tournament.

Why their ODI series in India was scheduled after the T20 series is a little mind-boggling. So, too, is the fact some of the Proteas’ T20 specialists have been sitting idle for the last week while the ODI series has been going on.

Here I refer to Rilee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs.

It is also odd that the Proteas played an ODI series at all right now. But that is because of the postponed series that didn’t happen during Covid.

ALSO READ: Boucher after ODI series defeat to India: ‘We need to get up for T20 World Cup’

I wonder though if Cricket South Africa couldn’t have asked the BCCI to rather play a further three or four T20s and scrap or postpone the ODI series. I know there are other reasons for needing to play ODI cricket, such as points to be played for ahead of the 50-overs World Cup, but surely common sense should prevail in this instance?

After all, the Proteas will arrive in Australia with an ODI series behind them while all of New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, England, Australia and West Indies have all been in action in T20 matches in Australasia. India, too, have their best players already in Australia.

ALSO READ: India thump Proteas to take ODI series 2-1

Unfortunately, two of South Africa’s key T20 players, captain Temba Bavuma and Tabraiz Shamsi, have also picked up a “mild infection” ruling them out of the last two ODIs, robbing them of much-needed game-time and an opportunity to get into form. Also, Keshav Maharaj missed Tuesday’s final ODI because he was unwell.

The one positive for the Proteas is that they will have two warm-up games before starting their T20 World Cup on 24 October — against New Zealand (17 October) and Bangladesh (19 October) — where hopefully the players get back into T20 mode immediately.

Proteas teams of the past have always been well prepared and among the favourites at World Cups, and not achieved much, so maybe on this occasion, with a few players out of touch and others nursing infections, and with few giving them a chance to do anything, they’ll surprise us all.

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