Town - The Proteas play
their first cricket of 2019 when the second Test against Pakistan gets underway
at Newlands on Thursday.
Test cricket, as most
international cricketers will tell you, is the pinnacle of the sport and for
that reason it is a massive occasion every time South Africa wears white.
2019, however, is
It might mean more to the Proteas
than the other top-tier nations given their history of failure at the
tournament, but this is a World Cup year and that will be the priority between
now and South Africa's opener at The Oval against hosts England on May
The Proteas have tried, and
failed, on seven separate occasions to win the World Cup and the nightmares of
1999 and 2015, in particular, still haunt fans of the game in these
All roads this year lead to a
Lord's final on July 19, so a home Test series against a struggling Pakistan
might not seem the most important task for the Proteas at the moment.
"It's certainly something
that is always in the back of my head," skipper Faf du Plessis said of the World Cup
while in Cape Town on the eve of the second Test.
thinking about decisions that will impact it."
Du Plessis had confirmed earlier
in his press conference that Duanne Olivier, the hero of the first Test at
Centurion, would play at Newlands.
With Vernon Philander back, it
means that one of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj or Theunis de Bruyn
will fall out of the XI.
Should the Proteas want to go with
batting depth and a front-line spinner, then one of Rabada or Steyn might be
With the World Cup in mind, Steyn
becomes a potentially attractive option given his troubles with injury over the
last two years and the fact that he is considered a key part of South Africa's
plans in England this year.
But Du Plessis says it is still
too early in the year to start thinking about work loads with the World Cup in
"It's still too far out to
start making decisions now that will impact the World Cup," he said.
"Probably closer to the
World Cup you will see us make decisions like that.
"It's always important to
stay in the present because if you look at the World Cup the whole time you will
lose sight of what's going on in front of you."
More of a concern to Du Plessis
than Test duty is the upcoming IPL, which runs from March 29 - May 19 and features
Rabada, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi
and Imran Tahir are the main South African bowlers who will play in the IPL
while Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen and Du Plessis are set to feature as
"The obvious one for me is
the IPL," Du Plessis said.
"It's just before the World
Cup and the last thing you want is one of your bowlers getting injured just
before the tournament.
"It's something that is a
concern for us and we need to look at how we can play that scenario out