The Proteas batting has once again found itself under the spotlight as it was the obvious weak link in the 2-1 series loss to England.
The stats don’t lie when it comes to how poorly South Africa’s batsmen responded to the testing conditions in England: A bowling all-rounder, Marco Jansen, topped their averages at just 27.33, while their leading run-scorer was opener Sarel Erwee, who managed just 127 runs in five innings, and also scored their only half-century of the series.
Keegan Petersen and Dean Elgar were the only other batsmen to score more than a hundred runs in the series, but both of them had poor campaigns, averaging less than 25.
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The figures, combined with the low output of runs in Test cricket in general over the last three years, once again casts a bad light on domestic cricket and the pipeline’s ability to deliver batsmen who are ready for the international game.
Most alarmingly, there are players in the national team who are trying to take on world-class bowlers, in bowling-friendly conditions, with techniques and mindsets that are not sturdy enough to handle the challenge.
Access to rands, mountain to climb
Cricket South Africa needs to realise that the more teams they give a seat to at the top table and access to more rands, the more diluted the strength of their premier domestic competitions become.
Instead of the top 24 bowlers being spread around six teams in the top division, there are now eight teams and therefore weaker bowling attacks, leaving batsmen with a mountain to climb when they try to bridge the gap in terms of intensity and skill at international level.
The situation is made worse by how few domestic first-class matches the Proteas bowlers play, and the effect of quotas in also weakening bowling attacks is another elephant in the room that should be considered.
Also read: Proteas lose three-match Test series after nine-wicket defeat