South African cricketer, who captains the South African Test AB de Villiers, had admitted that his South African team is currently declining in its effort to lead in the world crickets.
Villiers said this after a crushing series defeat by England. According to him, South African team no longer deserved their ranking as the leading Test side in the world.
The South African captain was asked if England’s trashing of their team at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday can lead to the end of their era. To this he said that even though South Africa still tops the rank, he is not sure of the group’s success this time.
“It’s not the same side any more,” he said. “It’s a difficult question. We’re still up there in the rankings but that means absolutely nothing. Our form of late has been pretty poor and it will take something special to turn it around. We’re a little bit offbeat at the moment, that’s for sure.” he said.
South Africa has been among the leading sides in Test cricket for most of the past decade and had held the official number one ranking since defeating England at Lord’s in 2012.This time they are unable to win a Test match since the New Year game against a weak West Indies side last year.
South Africa had also lost five and drawn four Tests. Three of the defeats were in India on pitches which favored spin bowlers and on which South Africa suffered a sequence of collapses.
The retirement of key players like Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher has been said to be the attributive factor to the sudden decline f the team. , as have injuries to leading fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
The South African cricket team is sure not alone in facing the current rebuilding phase, however, with the end of a World Cup cycle – the most recent was in 2015 – typically leading to some leading players calling time on their careers.
De Villiers quickly added that the 5th ranked England is also faced with the challenge of dealing with inexperienced players. “They’re definitely not the number five team in the world, they’re better than that. They’re a well-balanced team with lots of young players with a lot of talent. It looks like they’ve got a lot of maturity even though they’re young.”he said.
He therefore believes that South Africa has enough talents that will make it rise again.
“Not long ago I was that youngster in the team, going through ups and downs at Test level, personally and as a team. You learn a lot from that. It’s important just to survive at the moment, to get through this and not give up. You definitely learn a lot and get a lot of experience,”
How ever, South Africa has in the current time, been facing constant political pressure for the team to reflect more closely the country’s demographics and there is a target of four “players of colour” in each side that takes the field
There was major controversy about perceived interference in the selection of the South African one-day team for last year’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand when the team management and selectors were reminded to “properly consider …. transformation guidelines”.The upshot was that Philander, a player of colour, replaced the in-form Kyle Abbott, which reportedly caused considerable unhappiness in the camp.
When asked before the Wanderers Test whether the World Cup controversy had been a factor in the Test team’s decline, De Villiers deflected the question by pointing out that the team was performing well.
The performances of two talented black Africans, fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and batsman Temba Bavuma, have bee said by Villiers to have a welcomed boost to the transformation drive.
“If guys like Kagiso and a few others get through this patch they’ll become much better cricketers.”
Kallis and Smith did not become giants of the game overnight. “They had some tough times and they found a way to get to the top of the rankings.” he said.
De Villiers admitted that he hoped to remain captain after his interim appointment for the last two matches against England. He also hoped to walk away from the team some day but not until he had made impact.”It’s a big responsibility and a great opportunity,” he said. “I would love to walk away from the game one day, knowing I have had an influence on some of the younger guys becoming senior players in the team.” he said.