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HomeSquad AnalysisThe Eternal Curse vs The Never-Ending Proteafire

The Eternal Curse vs The Never-Ending Proteafire

“Those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as the fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value.”

There are 3 things related to South Africa that can be claimed as “Eternal”:

  1. The Trueness of the above quote said by their former president Thabo Mbeki
  2. Their curse of never winning the Cricket World Cup
  3. The most relevant one, their hunger & desire to thrive and somehow ending up somewhere at the top of fans’ expectation chart.

About two decades into its history now, T20 is no longer something new. 8 editions of T20 World Cup have passed, 8 editions that proved South Africa that a World Cup in a different format won’t be differentiating their luck.

When anyone with a knowledge of the sport says South Africa, the World Cup is the obvious first thing that pops into the mind. But where does it all ends? The Story Arc for the Proteas has seen enough, there is no uniquely possible “upset end” to their tale remaining & also there are no more excuses left for the white ball camp which has already made it out of their “Transition Phase”.

SQUAD: Aiden Markram(c), Quinton de Kock, Ryan Rickelton, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Reeza Hendricks, Tristan Stubbs, Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Ottniel Baartman, Tabraiz Shamsi, Bjorn Fortuin.

The Batting Privilege

With 20 participating nations, the 2024 T20 World Cup is about to be the biggest international T20 affair ever. Out of 20, probably no team can confidently claim their batting unit to be as complete as South Africa. Even the word Privilege might fall shy of describing a lineup whose last recognised specialist batsman is one of the greatest T20 batsman ever, aka David Miller. QDK, Markram, Hendricks, the world’s best batsman in the format of the last 2 years, i.e. Heinrich Klaasen.

The already good enough lineup from 2022 got a sweet pinch with SA20 talent in the form of Ryan Rickelton and Tristan Stubbs. The amount of goodness can be felt by the fact that Rassie van der Dussen couldn’t make it into this team despite his efforts in ODI CWC, SA20 & PSL. Rilee Rossouw, the centurion from the last T20 World Cup that happened in Australia, wasn’t even called back into the T20 side once he was rested.

Unlike the previous two editions, Proteas finally allowed themselves to get their non-performing elephant out of the room & hence, all batsmen in the team are well equipped with T20’s needs. Donovan Ferreira and Matthew Breetzke can also feel the insane T20 batting depth of their nation by looking at their exclusion. Fair and Square the Proteas’ batting possess quality and depth of the highest possible order. All the preps and paper works are done & now it relies on how well the willow connects with the white leather when the stage is set.

The Flawed Bowling Attack

Throwing away a 5-and-a-half-ounce leather with round arm action was never the easier aspect of the game. The format or the length of games getting shorter didn’t help the case either. Now in the decade of 2020s, even the organisers and broadcasters want to see more and more beating of that white leather. Adding to it the likes of new era batters like SKY & Travis Head, white-ball bowling is arguably the toughest affair in all of cricket.

While their spinners have gained some acknowledgement worldwide, South Africa, despite being a renowned pace factory, has failed to keep up with the increasing batting rates of T20. Since the end of the last T20 World Cup in 2022, Proteas have had the worst economy rate in bowling among all test-playing nations. An embarrassing average economy rate of 11.04 in 8 T20Is, all played at home.

Frustration, Annoyance, Excessive Disappointment and all other sorts of negative emotions must be felt in their fans and team camp when the bowlers are on their job. With the short number of T20 internationals they’ve played recently, it can either be the inefficiency of their bowlers or simply the result of the flat tracks they’ve played on. The pitches in West Indies, which are expected to be comparatively slower, might eventually help South Africa to balance things out in big games.

But the Clock Is Ticking Faster Than Ever

South Africa is definitely not the only team that is in desperate search of an ICC triumph, but they do have the highest number of emotions attached to their backstory, and emotions have always been a two-edged sword on the field of sport.

When the hopes of 60 million people rely on you, it surely puts some significant burden on your shoulders, especially when the nation is on a 26 years of victory drought, but with every passing year, the hope slowly gets melted into frustration.

There might come a time when there will be no longer hopes and no longer expectations, when the fans would’ve given up, and the survival of the sport in the country will be a bigger objective rather than winning. The imagination of such times can scare every fan.

The only way to avoid is to win; the only way to avoid is if 15 particular men play as if it is their last. Markram and Miller should forget their IPL, Klaasen and Stubbs will have to continue theirs, De Kock should make his last dance in green and gold memorable, while Baartman should prove his first selection accurate.

Once more, the camp will need Coetzee’s aggression, while Jansen’s high presence will be serviceable as well. All eyes will be on Reeza’s national obsession, and the spin duo must prove themselves countable as hell.


Admiring cricket since 2013, writing cricket since 2022. Trying to bring the game into life through words.

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