Cape Town - As preparations for the 2019 World Cup continue, the Proteas are running out of time to test new players and find their best combinations.
There are, between now and the start of the tournament on May 30, just 16 scheduled ODIs remaining for South Africa to find the perfect balance.
Several questions are yet to be answered.
Will Dale Steyn or Vernon Philander be available? Who will operate as the finisher in the South African middle/lower order? One spinner or two?
The SA 'A' team has just completed a disappointing tour in India where they emerged from just one win from six.
There were not many players who put their hands up during that tour, but still Gibson and the rest of the Proteas brains trust must use the upcoming Zimbabwe series to give some fringe players an opportunity to show that they do or do not have a role to play in 2019.
If you can't get the job done against a down and out Zimbabwe, after all, then you probably can't on a World Cup stage.
The Zimbabwe series is still a month away, but with the SA 'A' side having now completed their Indian tour, we can begin to look ahead.
Here, we look at FIVE players who could benefit from playing in all three ODIs against Zimbabwe.
The series starts in Kimberley on September 30. Pics from Gallo.
1. Temba Bavuma
Considered a Test specialist, Bavuma does have two ODIs to his name and scored a ton on debut against Ireland back in 2016. The Proteas middle order struggled in Sri Lanka, and in Bavuma they have a player with the ability to provide an element of patience and rigidity to hold the innings together. He is no AB de Villiers, but Bavuma is an exciting player and he has the ability to rotate the strike in the middle over and play spin well; something that most of his team-mates are struggling with. If Bavuma can occupy the crease for long periods and bring an element of calm and stability to the South African middle order.
2. Khaya Zondo
Zondo made a superb century against Australia 'A' in India last week, and his last contribution in a Proteas shirt saw him carve out a workmanlike half-century against India. Like Bavuma, Zondo offers something different in what has been a misfiring Proteas middle-order. He has a long way to go if he is to make a play for the 2019 squad, but he needs to be give another crack in national colours and three ODIs against Zimbabwe provides the perfect platform.
3. Farhaan Behardien
The Proteas still do not have an in-form finisher, but Behardien deserves another opportunity. David Miller is nowhere at the moment, while Behardien continues to shine. He finished with an average of 51.50 on SA 'A' duty in India and he remains South Africa's most destructive hitter at franchise level. There is no doubt that he has had ample chances in Proteas colours, but he has batted well enough for long enough to be given one more. Play Behardien in all three ODIs against Zimbabwe and make it clear that this is 'last chance saloon'.
4. Dane Paterson
With Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and maybe Dale Steyn involved, it's near-impossible at the moment for fringe fast bowlers to force their way into the World Cup mix. Injuries do happen, though, and South Africa must make sure that they have other new ball options. Paterson has three ODIs to his name, but he was South Africa's leading wicket-taker for the 'A' side in India. He must be given a mini-run in the national side, spending time with Gibson and the squad to become familiar with the team culture once more.
5. Chris Morris
With Andile Phehlukwayo struggling with the bat in Sri Lanka, Morris is looking more and more like the bowling allrounder the Proteas will need in England next year. He has had a horrible time with injury, but he is expected to be fit for the start of the Zimbabwe series. Morris has the ability to clear the ropes with ease while he is naturally quick and dangerous with the ball. The quicker the Proteas get Morris back into the fold, the better, and if he is back to full fitness by the end of the month then he must be unleashed against Zimbabwe.