Why the Proteas one day game has failed to blossom

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The best in the world, a sentence that people have become accustomed to saying when describing the Proteas test team. Such a calmness comes over a person when watching them play, no matter what the situation is, no matter how dire things seem, there is just an inner confidence you have, where you feel everything will be okay, and SA will find a way to come out on top and claim the victory. So how can a country so good in the longest form of the game, be struggling so much in crickets shorter formats?

I am talking about one day cricket, two forms of the game that the Proteas just have not been able to succeed in, in recent years, and what could possibly be the reason for this? How can a side, sitting comfortably on top of the ICC test rankings, put on some coloured clothing and become the 4th (ODIs) and the 6th (T20s) best?

It isn’t a lack of talent, that much is a certainty, take a look at the IPL squads for example and you will find no less than 14 South African’s taking part in the tournament, a tournament where teams are made up of the best one day players in the whole world excluding Pakistan, and the fact that 14 South African’s were bought shows just how much talent SA possess. So how can the Proteas be finding life in the shorter forms so difficult? It could be because at the moment, all this talent they have is hindering the side more than helping it.

SA have all this raw talent in one day cricket, that no-one seems to know what their best XI is, unlike the Test side where (if injury free) the same XI is chosen game after game. Their one day sides are the complete opposite to that, the team seems to change more often than the weather, and this inconsistency creates many problems in the side, as players batting positions change regularly, bowlers roles and responsibilities change, and this all culminates into a very unstructured team setting.

This then ends up having negative effects on the players, as they are unable to find any type of rhythm or consistency in their game, which can affect a player mentally and can even go as far as to ruin their career.

These changes to the side need to be brought to a halt so that some order and consistency can be reinforced into the Proteas one day outfit. Give players their roles in the team, and stick with them for a decent period, so that they can get accustomed to their roles and in turn the players entire games will flourish, and this will all contribute to the success of the one day side, and hopefully create the confidence and belief in each other, like what the test side is currently exuding.

Matthew Nepgen

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