Pakistan has arrived in South Africa for two limited overs series against a Proteas team under new leadership in Temba Bavuma. There are three One Day Internationals and four T20 Internationals, all to be played on the Highveld at SuperSport Park and the Wanderers. Once again, no spectators will be allowed into the stadiums because of Covid.
There is a lot of hype around the Proteas under a new leader and a new era dawning, similar to England after the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia where they imploded. There is no doubt that England since the 2015 CWC have built a formidable white-ball team in both ODIs and T20Is. Since that CWC they have been the dominant white-ball team in the world and won the 2019 CWC. In fact, England is probably the best white-ball team in the history of ODI and T20I cricket.
The England team is loaded with match winners and world-class players who can all win a match almost single-handily. They have been blessed with many great players in the same era; however, they have managed their players well and continue to get the best out of them.
The statement by the South African captain, promoted by a naive cricket media, that there is no reason why the Bavuma era cannot emulate England, is nothing more than a dream. There is realistically no reason to believe there are signs to suggest this in the recent past under an inexperienced captain. The South African team is ranked fifth on the ICC rankings in ODIs and sixth in T20Is, and will do well to hang on to these positions in the near future.
The media talk about eight players that the country possesses who can make this vision a reality, stretches the imagination. South Africa has only two players who are world-class and match winners, Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock. The rest are no more than average international players at best and many, like David Miller, have flattered to deceive in their careers.
The interesting aspect is that the national selectors keep overlooking Chris Morris. For what reason, I am not sure. Morris is a world-class player in both forms of white-ball cricket, proved by his continued dollar worth in the Indian Premier League. He was also one of the best performers for South Africa at the disappointing 2019 CWC in England.
Pakistan is the start of the Bavuma era. On the schedule are two T20 World Cups in India and Australia, then the 2023 CWC in Australia. It is a schedule that will give many, more experienced captains sleepless nights.