Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Proteas: Some positives, but still unanswered questions ahead of T20 World Cup

Rassie van der Dussen didn't have much advice to pass on to Aiden Markram on how to resurrect the Proteas attack.

They ultimately fell in a whitewash defeat, but stand-in captain Rassie van der Dussen believes the Proteas can take some positives from their series loss to the West Indies ahead of the T20 World Cup.

With half their World Cup squad missing from the three-match T20 International campaign in Kingston, the under-strength Proteas struggled to put up a fight, as their hosts secured a thumping eight-wicket victory on Sunday night to wrap up a 3-0 series win.

Players finding form

And while Van der Dussen was one of seven players returning home this week, as the rest of the national squad linked up with the remainder of the World Cup group in the United States, he felt some members of the World Cup unit had gained real value from the short tour.

They included batters Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks, who both made useful contributions at the top of the order, and spin bowler Bjorn Fortuin, who performed well in patches.

And while Van der Dussen admitted they had been outplayed by the home team, he was also impressed by 21-year-old spinner Nqaba Peter, who made his international debut, taking three wickets in two matches.

“I think you’ve got to look for those things, like Quinny getting back into form; the way Reeza batted; the youngster Nqaba Peter making his debut and looking like he’s been playing for a few years already; and Bjorn Fortuin bowled well at stages,” said Van der Dussen, who led the SA team in the absence of regular captain Aiden Markram.

“So there were some glimpses here and there, which we’ve got to look for, but I think overall we were short of the mark by quite a long way this week.”

Frustrated bowlers

Going into the T20 World Cup, the Proteas have won just two of their last 13 matches in the short format, but Van der Dussen felt they could take some lessons from their latest series as they targeted the nation’s first global senior cricket trophy.

In particular, he believed a more aggressive approach from the batting line-up (which will be significantly reinforced at the World Cup) could boost their chances.

He admitted, however, that they had been frustrated with the ball against West Indies, and he didn’t have much advice to pass on to Markram on how to resurrect the Proteas attack which struggled in Caribbean conditions.

“On the batting front, maybe we just need to be a bit braver. We saw the way the West Indies play, especially in the power play. They really take it on,” Van der Dussen said.

“From a bowling point of view, I’m not sure. We tried a few different things but nothing seemed to work. Sometimes I suppose you have to try a few things to find what does work for you, and hopefully we can do that soon.”

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