Wednesday, 04 May 2016

SA drops to sixth in Test rankings, rightly so

South Africa has dropped to sixth place in the recently released ICC Test rankings, the Proteas now on 92 points behind Australia (118), India (112), Pakistan (111), England (105) and New Zealand (98). In recent blogs I mentioned that the Proteas are not nearly as good a squad as they used to be. The rankings released on 3 May confirm this. I also said that the most recent performances suggested a return to winning ways.

Proteas captain AB de Villiers has a lot to do to renew the public's faith in the team.

The ICC is very accurate with their rankings, and takes into consideration how recent the matches were, under the period of review. When the new rankings were released this May, all Test results in the 2012/13 season no longer counted. Furthermore, the results from the 2015/16 season were regarded more highly. Both of these changes affected our rankings. While we held the number one or two spot in recent years, we now languish only four points above Sri Lanka in seventh place. There are several reasons for this decline:

Our greats of the game have retired, or are still playing but without much support from the rest of the team, or belief in themselves. Only Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock are new players worthy of wearing the green cap. AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla are expected to do most of the scoring with the bat, while the rest of the batting line up is continuously chopped and changed as selectors desperately try to find players with enough talent, consistency and mental strength to perform. 

The fact that some pundits regard Kyle Abbott as our best bowler is quite sad, as his figures are average, and he usually does not trouble batsmen. The ageing Dale Steyn is usually injured, or when he does play, bowls without much confidence . Imran Tahir is bowling well, but the 37-year-old's age will soon catch up to him. Other than KG and De Kock, no new players are knocking on the door at domestic level.

I believe that our new Test ranking is accurate. We are on the bottom half of the table. But I also believe that we can once again become a force to be reckoned with. It does not happen overnight, and must start at the domestic, schools and U19 levels.

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