As a die-hard supporter of South African cricket, it’s not often in the recent past that I get to write articles on the Proteas without much criticism and more with just immense ecstasy.
With hurrahs few and far between, loads of inconsistency has etched the performance of the men in Green and Gold. One would constantly juggle between despair and delight when it comes to the southern tip of Africa.
Perhaps the perception of the cricketing fortitude of South Africa much like the country itself is possibly one devoid of hope.
Well as things stand, the tables have turned courtesy the new leader in whites, Temba Bavuma.
In my last piece, I had mentioned about Dean Elgar being hard done by when he was relieved of his captaincy duties with the mantle going to the pocket dynamite.
Truth be told, I wasn’t sure whether the decision was the right one but Bavuma certainly countered all his critics and me with not only his captaincy but his wonderful second test ton which led South Africa to a series white-wash over the West Indies.
Yes, Temba broke his drought of hundreds with a wonderful 172 of just 280 balls in the second innings of the recently concluded second test with strokes filled with class and a temperament second to none.
He came in to bat with his team all at sea at 8 for 2 and cemented a second innings lead that was more than enough to give the Proteas a whopping 284 run victory. This after they had conquered the Men from the Caribbean by 87 runs in the first showing at Centurion.
More than the innings itself what stood out was the way the skipper analysed the situation when his team was in the pothole of adversity and showed immense grit and resolve to score big and put them well on the way to victory.
Apart from Bavuma, the return of South Africa’s prodigal son Aiden Markram to form and to the test team was worth every praise. With a mighty fine hundred in the first test and a 90 odd in the second, he certainly showed his class.
Perhaps, the mantle of the T20 captaincy has made Aiden take his game far more seriously as a seasoned campaigner rather than a youngster who demonstrated oodles of talent albeit inconsistency galore.
From a bowling stand point, Rabada continued to cement his legacy with 12 wickets for the series although what captivated me was the rise of young Gerald Coetzee.
The pacy karate kid made his debut in this series and soared to claiming nine wickets, putting him third on the cherry list.
With South Africa riding high under the astute leadership of Bavuma, one would have hoped to see more red ball games in the near future but unfortunately, they will only be returning to this format in December this year against the mighty Indians.
Certainly, something to ponder for the powers that be!
As the focus now shifts to white ball cricket, the Proteas would look to continue the obliteration of the West Indies with the aim of only going onwards and upwards.
Maybe it is time the south in South Africa should only be in the name. Well, sport can definitely tick this box!