Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


Proteas defeat to Australia shows cause for concern ahead of World Cup

The T20 series loss won't have done anything to boost the SA team's confidence.


Hindsight, of course, offers 20/20 vision. But now that they have three games under their belts after a five-month hiatus, the Proteas' T20 series defeat to Australia raises some real concerns about the national team ahead of next month's Cricket World Cup. Firstly, heading into the global showpiece, it does feel like giving opportunities to potential future stars should have taken a back seat to the need for an established squad to ensure they're match fit and ready to go. Going into the 50-over World Cup, Proteas white ball coach Rob Walter will pretty much know who he wants to send…

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Hindsight, of course, offers 20/20 vision. But now that they have three games under their belts after a five-month hiatus, the Proteas’ T20 series defeat to Australia raises some real concerns about the national team ahead of next month’s Cricket World Cup.

Firstly, heading into the global showpiece, it does feel like giving opportunities to potential future stars should have taken a back seat to the need for an established squad to ensure they’re match fit and ready to go.

Going into the 50-over World Cup, Proteas white ball coach Rob Walter will pretty much know who he wants to send to India, and after a lengthy break from the international game, they should probably have taken the opportunity to sharpen up for the quadrennial showpiece.

ALSO READ: No place for rising stars in Proteas squad for World Cup?

Instead, they rested a handful of senior players for the T20 series against Australia, giving key members of the World Cup squad only five ODI matches against the tourists to sharpen up for the World Cup.

Yes, it’s a different format, but there will be plenty of opportunities down the line to give younger players a chance, and unless the selectors really felt any of them could have stuck up their hands for World Cup selection during the T20 series, they might have done better to give senior players more games against a quality Australian side.

Crushing defeat

Another concern raised by the 3-0 defeat in the T20 series was that the Proteas were not just defeated. They were crushed.

And while it was a young squad that represented the hosts, it won’t have done anything in terms of confidence for the players who will compete in India.

It’s never pleasant to lose, and it’s even worse when we fall to perennial rivals Australia.

ALSO READ: Proteas ‘outplayed’, Walter admits, but there is light at the end of the tunnel

Ahead of the World Cup, however, it compounds the pain even more, so it’s crucial that the Proteas stand up and deliver in the ODI series against the tourists, with a near full-strength squad participating on the eve of the global showpiece.

Winning their first World Cup title is going to be tough enough. Going in with a lack of confidence isn’t going to help at all.

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