South Africa Will Use India Test Tour To Discover The Next Hashim Amla
South Africa are the cricket betting underdogs in the Freedom test series as they are playing a strong Indian team in conditions that are very unfamiliar to them. Apart from the challenge of facing India on the road, South Africa have had to deal with a lot of issues in the last 12 months. They need a Hashim Amla, but can anyone step up and be their Hashim Amla?
Absence Of Senior Players Will Hurt
South Africa did well for themselves in test cricket over the last decade. This is because they had a strong core team that was able to perform in home and away conditions. They depended heavily on the aforementioned Hashim Amla at 3 and AB Devilliers at 4. These two were right up there with the best test batsmen in the world. They used JP Duminy on occasion at number 6 in the sub-continent as he could not only bat, but bowl a bit of spin.
South Africa no longer have the services of Amla, Devilliers and Duminy. They have all retired. Their middle-order lacks experience and will be put to the test when they face top class spin bowling from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
It’s not just the batting department that is bereft of experience. The tried and tested fast bowling combination of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel has also come to an end. Both players have retired as well. South Africa have to move on and will rely on the few senior players they have to shepherded the younger generation and help them become the next Amla and Steyn, figuratively.
Who Are The Senior SA Players?
The two most senior players in the side are captain Faf du Plessis and Vernon Philander who have both played 58 tests. Faf du Plessis has been under immense pressure as captain after South Africa failed to make the playoffs during the 2019 ICC World Cup and a series whitewash in India will be another big blow for him.
Opening batsmen Dean Elgar has played 56 tests, and Quinton de Kock has 40 test caps to his name. The rest of the squad are rather thin on test experience, especially when it comes to playing test cricket in India.
Faf du Plessis is already 35 and near the end of his career, while Philander is 34 and has at best around 2 years of test cricket left in him. While du Plessis will want to fight hard and win the Freedom test series, his other mission will be mentor some of the younger players in the squad who are ready to take up the baton and lead South Africa.
The two candidates who could be the next captain for South Africa are de Kock, who captained in the T20 series, and opener Aiden Markram. It is imperative for both of them to do well in the test series and take some of the pressure off du Plessis.
Young Players To Watch Out For
Kagiso Rabada is 24 and Lungi Ngidi is only 23. However, they have the challenge of leading the South African attack. Rabada has already established himself as one of the best fast bowlers in the world. But this time around, he has to prove that he can get the job done in conditions that don’t suit his style of bowling.
Captain du Plessis admitted that it was tough losing so much of experience, especially in the batting department. But he believes Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn have what it takes to do well for South Africa. The Proteas captain said the big positive in having young players in the squad is that they did not have a lot of baggage of losing in India. They will be rearing to go and prove that they are the future of South African cricket.