The South African cricket team have just completed another away test series victory with a massive assist from the weather saving the game and confirming victory. As I have done in the past I thought I would pick some winners and losers from the series, i.e. who further enhanced their careers and who did more damage than good. Here is the list
I think its safe to say that the doubt raised about South African spinning options has been well and truly dismissed by Maharaj in this series. He took 15 wickets, the most in the series, including a match winning 6/40 in the second test. South Africa usually use a spinner as a containing option, but in New Zealand he was our attacking option and excelled.
He has often been the foil to Steyn and Philander, and had been out due to injury. On his return he was our leading pace bowler. Jacques Kallis often described him as the toughest to face in the nets, and he showed his value once again. I still dont see him as our leading strike bowler, but offers a great variation to Rabada and Philander.
Faf du Plessis
Although Elgar was the top scorer for SA in the series, he got all his runs in the first test and then tanked. Faf on the other hand continues to shine as national test captain. Three scores of 50 in his five innings and all with great levels of importance. In the absence of AB, Faf has really become our go to guy and he excels at it.
Quinton de Kock
Let Adam Gilchrist do the talking.
Nice compliment for me. That kid is a superstar https://t.co/gc53dCNq5B
— Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) March 17, 2017
There were clouds of doubt hanging around Bavuma after a horrendous series against Sri Lanka. But in New Zealand Bavuma showed that he is at his best when the team need a gritty, determined knock. While I still believe he gives away his wicket too easily, the two fifties in 5 innings will at least secure his place for the England series where I truly believe we can see the best of him!
What an incredible article on “Calling Through the Fog”
This is the man we should build a team around and he is incredible, but I cant help thinking he looked tired and not nearly as dangerous. He is going to the IPL now so there will be no rest before the England tour and that in itself is a bit of a worry as the workload is not being sufficiently managed.
I have no doubt Vern will be a factor in England and a massive part of any success we may have there. He bowled some incredible spells in New Zealand and was at times unlucky not to take more wickets, but that our front line bowler picked up 2 wickets in 3 tests is largely concerning.
4 innings, 17 runs and being dropped for a non-opener. There are scary warning signs that Cook’s test career is not as secure as it had looked. The fact that he is likely to be an important cog in the wheel in England, he now will likely play with the sense of the impending ax hovering over his shoulder.
Theunis de Bruyn
Its not his fault that he was pushed into opening the innings when he is not a opener, but that was how not to take an opportunity. After a first innings duck, he was run out in almost amateur like style in the second innings and did nothing to put pressure on any of the starting 11. He will (provided he doesnt take a Kolpak deal) play test cricket in his career, but lets hope he is more of a Faf than a Stiaan.