South Africa was the best Test side before it came to India in 2015. Six tests hence the scenario is reversed. The hunter has been hunted. It lost in India 3-0 in a four test series. Now in England, it has already lost the first test and looking to go down the barrel in a similar fashion.
There still may be a turnaround. But the manner of the defeats is most disappointing. The same dominant side that looked to conquer the world once is looking as fragile as ever. The fact that it has been 10 innings since they have reached 250 in the overseas tests is not a good sign that not so long ago prided in being the best visiting side. With few senior players looking past their prime and some getting injured at vital times, it somehow seems inevitable that we are reaching the end of an era.
The Fast Bowling lineup that used to be the best in the world is looking inexperienced than ever. With Dale Steyn getting injured most often than not, responsibility has shifted on Morne Morkel able shoulders to lead the way. New bowlers Hardus Viljoen, Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris have been included in the ranks but only time will tell how well they can fill the big shoes. The spin cupboard too feels empty. There is not even a single noteworthy spinner.
Including new blood in the bowling may cost experience but it may still be a good thing as it brings fresh legs and newly found thirst to the table. But the bigger problem lies elsewhere and that is in batting. Some players are just being retained purely based on their reputation and not based on their performance. In 2015 Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy have averaged a mere 16.75 and 14.00 respectively. Even the captain, Amla with a 2015 batting average of 22.81 has been a notable underperformer; this has failed to inspire his captaincy as well. It has not helped his cause either by the controversial comments from some of the ex-players on his leadership ability and discord in the team.
Now there are rumors of AB de Villiers test retirement. He has been the one best batsman who has been performing well in the rot. His workload has also been reduced by including De Kock, as he will be performing the keeping duties by letting de Villiers to focus on batting. Although, including De Kock may seem to be a well-thought solution but it is the top order that needs more attention. Infusing some new blood there may just do the trick.
Hopefully the advent of the New Year – 2016 – may bring in some much-needed luck and luster in otherwise lackluster 2015.