Johannesburg - Former South African cricket captain Ali Bacher says while he remains bullish about the Proteas chances at next year's Cricket World Cup, the selectors need a change in thinking.
"In my opinion, we need to start looking to select specialists, not 'useful' all-rounders who will not win a game for you in the world cup," Bacher said on Tuesday.
"Since the 60s, South Africa's strength had always been related to the number of genuine all-rounders we had in the team, But in 2014, we do not have a genuine world-class all-rounder."
The Proteas returned home on Monday after a comprehensive 4-1 ODI series defeat against Australia. During the first half of their Australasian tour, they beat World Cup co-hosts New Zealand 2-0 with a third game rained out.
With the emphasis on the word "genuine", Bacher said players like Eddie Barlow, Trevor Goddard, Mike Procter and Clive Rice were invaluable in their day.
"In the 90s, it carried on with Brian McMillan, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener and Jacques Kallis.
"The best one-day team we've had in South Africa was the one led by the late Hansie Cronje in the late 90s. Kallis batted high up and then at 7, 8, and 9 we had Mark Boucher, Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock. We had unbelievable depth in batting."
Bacher, who played Test cricket between 1965 and 1970 and played for the old province Transvaal, said South Africa was not the only country suffering from the shortage.
"We are not alone. In England, there is no allrounder that can come close to Ian Botham. The same can be said for Pakistan's Imran Khan, India's Kapil Dev and New Zealand's Richard Hadlee."
Bacher said he did not have all the answers, but was just stating it as a fact.
"It's a mystery with all the one-day cricket played these days, that the genuine allrounders have disappeared."
And where did it leave South Africa ahead of the February World Cup?
"If I were a one-man selection committee, and provided all the players were fully fit, we would have a team of specialists.
"We already have nine quality cricketers who can compete with the best in the world."
In batting line-up, he named Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and David Miller.
"We need one more specialist batsman," Bacher said.
"Then at 8, 9 and 10, we have world-class bowlers in Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. The last spot - number 11 - should be for another specialist fast bowler."
Conditions in Australia were better suited to fast bowlers, even more so than in South Africa, he said.
"You cannot go with only three quicks and you need the best you can find to fill that last specialist fast bowling slot.
"Another reason for the extra fast bowler is because these days you have two white balls, so the ball doesn't get as soft as it used to do. In Australian conditions, you need four quicks, not three, and not two spinners."
Quoting the late Eric Rowan, former Test batsman and a selector for both the national team and Transvaal, Bacher stressed the value of specialists ahead of 'useful' cricketers.
"Eric always used to say you should pick the six best for their batting and if they can bowl a bit, then that's an added bonus, but it should not come into the equation.
"Pick your best wicketkeeper, and if he can bat a bit that's an extra and the same for the four best bowlers."
With nine specialists already in place, Bacher was optimistic about South Africa's chances in next year's tournament.
"If all of them are fit and in good form, we can compete with best in the world.
"Another specialist batsman and specialist bowler - the best you can find - then we've got a good team."