5 talking points: Proteas v Bangladesh

2017-10-23 10:48
Ottis Gibson (Getty)

Cape Town - If we're honest with ourselves, the whole Bangladesh tour to South Africa has not made for the best viewing because of how one-sided it has been. 

But from the Test matches and through the ODIs, South Africa's dominance has been a welcomed boost to some players who needed an injection of runs or wickets. 

The exercise was not completely futile, and three convincing ODI victories later there are some things to ponder from a Proteas perspective when looking at the limited overs set-up.

The 2019 Cricket World Cup is the main aim for new coach Ottis Gibson, and while there will be tougher tests in the months to come, he has had a good opportunity to ease into his role against Bangladesh. 

The T20s remain, but here are some lessons we can take from the ODI series.  

1. AB is still other-worldly 

AB de Villiers' innings of 176 off 104 balls in Paarl reminded us of what he is capable of. It was his highest score in ODI cricket and he fell just 13 runs short of setting a new South African record in the format. 

De Villiers' commitment to the Proteas in all formats is fantastic news and he will be a crucial part of the 2019 World Cup cause. 

His shot-making ability is unrivaled, and with the captaincy now off his shoulders he can concentrate on doing what he does best.

When De Villiers is in the type of form he was in at Paarl, there is little to nothing that opposition bowling attacks can do to stop him. 

He is, simply, one of the greatest the game has ever seen. Sachin Tendulkar finished his career with 18 426 ODI runs in 452 innings at an average of 44.83

De Villiers doesn't have the time to get close to those numbers, but after just 215 ODI innings he has 9 515 runs at 54.06

2. The future looks brighter

The picture post-2019 has been a bit murky for the Proteas, with there being concerns over what the side would look like after the expected departures of De Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Imran Tahir. 

That depth is obviously still a concern, but with Wiaan Mulder and Aiden Markram earning their ODI debuts in East London on Sunday, there is at a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Markram looks a seriously gifted player, and the fact that Mulder has been included at such a young age bodes well for his future. 

When one further considers the emergence of the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo, then the long-term future of the Proteas limited overs set-up begins to look far healthier. 

3. Gibson not afraid to try new things

Gibson had said after the first ODI in Kimberley that, if they won the second in Paarl, he would be prepared to mix things up in the third ODI in East London. 

That is exactly what he did, fielding a completely new-look side, and that is a good sign as preparations continue for 2019. 

With a number of young players coming into the set-up, Gibson must find the perfect balance for 2019 and to do that he will have to mix things up from time to time. 

It is important that he stamps his own authority on this side and does things his way, and not the way they have been done in the past. Early indications are that he will have no problems doing that. 

4. Proteas need new ball depth

One area where the Proteas looked a little vulnerable was in the new ball support for Kagiso Rabada. Dane Paterson has a naturally beautiful action, but he was expensive up front throughout the season and struggled in the first two matches. 

Steyn, Philander and Morkel are obviously all sidelined and will be options once fully fit, but with them out South Africa looked a little thin in the new ball department. 

To his credit, Paterson came back well in the third ODI, but he didn't do enough to command his spot moving forward or press any of the three previously mentioned new ball exponents for a place once they have returned. 

5. 'Smaller' grounds need more international cricket

It was a welcomed change to see the crowds - particularly in Kimberley and East London - coming out in their numbers. 

The crowds in the Test series were poor, but throughout the ODI series they were sizeable and vocal. 

Even in Paarl, where the second ODI was an oddly scheduled Wednesday day game, those who could came out to watch some cricket. 

There was a noticeably strong support for the Bangladeshis, but it is important now that these grounds do not have to wait a day and an age for their next taste of international cricket and that they are rewarded for generating interest in a series that did little to offer anything in the way of real competition.

Follow Sport24's @LloydBurnard on Twitter...

Read more on:    bangladesh  |  proteas  |  ottis gibson  |  cricket


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