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By Vusi Voetsek


Want to know why the Proteas’ batting is so poor? Check the First Class averages!

Why is South Africa's best, in-form cricketer, Ryan Rickelton, not getting a look-in?

First off, how awesome were the Proteas women! Bliksem, did those ladies give the Aussies a scare.

They might not have gone all the way, but they played lekker cricket and made us all proud.

Also, before I get into the nitty-gritty of this week’s rant, I have to say well done and congratulations to the Proteas men’s team, too, for beating the Windies inside three days (more on that later) and especially to Aiden Markram, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada for producing such good performances.

Oh, and let me not forget about Chiefs, who beat Pirates in the big Soweto Derby last weekend.

Right, now to the Test in Centurion.

Poor batting

Firstly, where were all the fans? Hell, it looked so bad seeing all those empty seats and grass banks, I wonder how the players must have felt. It can’t be lekker playing a Test when so few people pitch up to watch.

Maybe more people will go to the Wanderers next week, but again, why start the Test on a Wednesday?
This last week it started on a Tuesday and didn’t get close to seeing the weekend. That’s just poor planning on CSA’s part. Come on, up your game please.

But the biggest issue of the last week was the Proteas’ poor batting, again. Hell, these okes have been struggling for ages.

I know the bowling was good and the pitch was possibly a bit dodgy but how can you go from 221 for one and get bowled out for 342? And then you go and make just 116 in your second innings. No man, it’s just not good enough.

First Class cricket

Maybe the guys have got too much of a T20 mindset now. I mean where is the fight, the desire to play for hours, to build a score? But we shouldn’t be surprised. How many of our top order have played regular First Class cricket recently?

I think we must just concede we don’t have great batters at this stage in our history.

Dean Elgar, for all his gutsy innings’ over the years, averages 37.51 in 82 Tests. In first class cricket it’s 41.38 (from 237 matches). Is that good enough for a Test opener?

Dean Elgar
Former captain Dean Elgar. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

And while Markram was the only batter in the Test in Centurion to do something of substance, his average in 33 Tests is only 34; that’s why he was dropped not too long ago. In 86 First Class matches it’s 42.92. It’s ok, nothing more.

Debutant Tony de Zorzi is averaging 101.40 in First Class cricket this season thanks to a stupendous 304 not out, but does an overall First Class average of 37.85 warrant a national call-up?

Captain Temba Bavuma, who sadly got a pair of ducks on Test captaincy debut, averages 34 in Tests and 37 in FC cricket; also nothing special.

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma.
Captain Temba Bavuma got two ducks in the first Test against the West Indies. Picture: Gallo Images

Keegan Petersen averages 32 in Tests and a tad over 39 in FC cricket.

Heinrich Klaasen, preferred by new coach Shukri Conrad to Kyle Verrynne, averages 47.24 in FC cricket — the best by some margin of the Proteas top order.

Ryan Rickelton

Sadly, we have to ask, again, why did the form SA cricketer of the last two years, Ryan Rickelton, not play in Centurion? Come on, it’s ridiculous how this guy is being treated.

The Lions player has been in the form of his life for two years and this season alone averages 121.66 from five innings. His overall FC record has him at 46 games, 79 innings, 3896 runs and average of 54.87. He’s a run machine. But he sits in the stands, watching the action.

Coach Conrad and batting guru Neil McKenzie have their work cut out.

Our batting in the Test arena needs drastic attention. Then again, with so little Test cricket on the horizon for the Proteas (they will play only four Tests in 2023), why should anyone really be bothered.

It’s the limited overs stuff that matters most now … but more about that another time.

Until next week, check you at the Wanderers.

  • Vusi Voetsek is a disgruntled former coach, who was never given a shot at the big-time. He’s got an opinion on everything from athletics to golf to rugby and cricket and a whole lot in between. He’s a straight shooter who says it like it is and he isn’t scared to ruffle a few feathers.

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