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England v Proteas T20I Series – An Appetizer Before the Main Course

The Proteas flattered to deceive at the ICC Champions Trophy. Why?

The best answer this writer can come up with is that we were so desperate to break the South African ICC plague that the team’s success over the last ten or so months burnt the side out. None of the players showed up at the tournament.

Quinton de Kock was bogged down, Kagiso Rabada was off the boil, Wayne Parnell and JP Duminy…were Wayne Parnell and JP Duminy – inconsistent and lacking in “BMT”, Imran Tahir bamboozled Sri Lanka but did not have the runs to play with in the other games.

Now to the elephants in the room – AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis. AB looked directionless in the field, never quite sure of his plans and that confusion translated into his franticness at the crease. Faf was ok – 137 runs at an average of just under 46. I can’t help but wonder, though, if his drive was not as strong without the responsibility of the captaincy.

The only men to emerge with any credit at the event were David Miller, for his responsible knock against Pakistan and Morne Morkel for his pleasing and accurate return from injury.

The Proteas now continue their tour of England. First up is a three match T20 International series against the “Three Lions”.

Both squads for the series have fresh faces. In the Proteas case key test figures: Hashim Amla, KG, Quinny, du Plessis and (annoyed mumbling under my typing fingers) Duminy, are back in SA for a break and a child birth, in du Plessis’ case, before the Tests.

JJ Smuts, Mangaliso Mosehle, Dane Paterson, Reeza Hendricks and Tabraiz Shamsi all come into the squad while Dwaine Pretorius has received a T20I call-up for the first time. de Villiers will captain in du Plessis’ absence before he heads home.

There is an exciting mix of talent in the SA side, as there is for England but with the next World T20 currently scheduled for three years from now, this series lacks context. It should only really be seen as a bit of a “half-time show” before the tour really gets back on track with the four Tests.

That said, I will still be watching, if only in the hope that some feel-good-factor can be restored in the camp before the main course gets underway next month.

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