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T20 World Cup 2022: South Africa's untimely woes

3rd One Day International: India v South Africa
South African team (Credits: Getty)

The South African team is currently flailing in their preparations for one of the largest showpiece events on the calendar, and there are quite a few glaring reasons as to why that may be the case.

Unrest in the changeroom, few performances to speak about in the middle, and a continuing discussion among many regarding political interference in the once cricketing-mad nation. Here are some of the untimely woes that have hurt the Proteas the most ahead of the T20 World Cup 2022.

Boucher Out

Mark Boucher abruptly decided to leave the head coach position of the Proteas with over a year left on his contract. The prolific former wicket-keeping batter pulled the plug just before the start of the Indian white ball series, which South Africa lost earlier this month. With his contract due to last until the ODI World Cup next year, it is a rather seemingly strange decision for him to suddenly abandon the role.

Mark Boucher during his coaching stint earlier this year (Credits: Getty)
Mark Boucher during his coaching stint earlier this year (Credits: Getty)

He then revealed to suddenly joining the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, as the new head coach. Questions continue to mount in the wake of the news as to why this was so hastily done. The official quote from the CSA headquarters were that Boucher was simply seeking new and further milestones in his coaching career, and what better way to achieve that than with an IPL franchise.

Other rumors suggest Boucher was quite tired of balancing government regulations with regards to team selection sheets. The key selection conundrum was the policy of no more than five white players allowed to take the field on average over the course of one season.

This controversial policy, which is at odds with ICC regulations, seems to continue to be allowed to prevail despite being blatantly against the rules outlined by the cricketing governing body. One wonders if the overwhelming nature of this finally took its toll on the head coach.


Batting Woes

South Africa's batting remains the biggest question mark, especially in the white-ball format. They somewhat narrowly lost the recently concluded T20I series against India, but the performances of batting unit remain worrisome. After scoring buckets of runs in one game, they seem to go limp in the next and be skittled for well under par totals on a regular basis. Perhaps the main culprit is the captain of the Proteas himself, Temba Bavuma.

Bavuma in actiona against India (Credits:Getty)
Bavuma in actiona against India (Credits:Getty)

Bavuma has managed just 27 runs in his last six innings for the Proteas in the limited-overs format. Many questions are being asked with regards to his place in the team, where many in-form and hungry players are continuously knocking on the door. The absence of injury-stricken Rassie van der Dussen will hurt the South Africa's chances in T20 World Cup as he provides an enormous sense of stability to the top order, with his effortless ability to find the boundary at will.

It will be up to stalwarts Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Rilee Rossouw, and perhaps even the newcomer in Tristan Stubbs, who is proving to be an effectively consistent member of the shortest format over the last few months.


Bowling Stars need to fire

On paper, the star studded white-ball lineup of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Keshav Maharaj would stir up quite a bit of fear in most batting lineups. That has not been the case of late, though, as India took the much acclaimed attack for runs in leaps and bounds, as the trio went at economies of well over 9 during the series.

Anrich Nortje (L) and Kagiso Rabada (Credits: Getty)
Anrich Nortje (L) and Kagiso Rabada (Credits: Getty)

All hope won't be lost, however, as the Proteas bowling attack absolutely blew away the New Zealand batting order early on Monday (October 17) in their first official warm-up match ahead of the T20 World Cup. Keshav Maharaj emerged as the standout with figures of 3/17.

This change in fortune in recent outings will hopefully set the tone going into the tournament for the Protea attack, as their hopes will hinge on it.

I will go against the grain here, though, with my ultimate assessment of the Proteas' chances, and say that they will get through to the semi-final phase of this year's edition of the T20 World Cup. It is based on the fact that their bowling attack suits the conditions down under and historically they have done well on the hard decks.

South Africa Squad for T20 World Cup 2022:

Temba Bavuma (c), Rilee Rossouw, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Kagsio Rabada, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs, David Miller

Poll : Will the Proteas get through to the semis?

Yes

No

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Edited by Tejas Rathi
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