It must’ve been tough to realise that this might be the last time you will ever walk off a pitch in Australia while playing Test cricket for South Africa.
Still, this is a reality that faces Proteas speedster Dale Steyn, who pulled up with a shoulder injury on Friday and was ruled out for the rest of the Test series Down Under.
The 33-year-old Phalaborwa Express has been struggling with injuries of late and with the rise of youngster Kagiso Rabada, this latest setback might just mean the end for Steyn and his career with the national team.
But that’s not what p!ssed me off most when he went down.
Fact is coach Russell Domingo then had to finish the match with only two fast bowlers – Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada – and one spinner – Keshav Maharaj – with part-timers JP Duminy and Dean Elgar having to chip in as well.
They should never have been in this position.
What they needed was a Mitchell Marsh-type player – a batsman that has the
ability to seam it as well.
We’ve had them in the past – think Jacques Kallis, Hansie Cronje, Adrian Kuiper or Brian McMillan.
Where are they now?
Yes, Vernon Philander can bat a bit – evident by his knock of 73 in the second innings at the Waca. He is the bowling allrounder-type, though.
And the Proteas desperately need a player that they can put in the top order.
Shaun Pollock, while a decent batsman down the order, was also not a good enough batsman to qualify as a serious top order batsman and therefore the sort of allrounder they need. In my books at least.
Wayne Parnell is the one player I thought would be able to fill this position for South Africa and also
providing a left-arm option.
But it is a pity that he hasn’t evolved as well as we would have liked.
Andile Phelukwayo is another youngster that I think can make the step up.
But he is already being seen as a frontline bowler and too little effort is being made to get him to be a top batsman.
Getting a real allrounder will allow Domingo to replace Steyn with another frontline bowler.
Opening batsman Stephen Cook will then have to be the one sacrificed, while Hashim Amla will have to move up the order to open the innings with Dean Elgar.
With Faf du Plessis then coming in at No.3, JP Duminy at four, Quinton de Kock at five, Temba Bavuma at six, you have a decent top order.
And then with said allrounder at seven, Vern at eight, South Africa can only go from strength to strength.
Problem is, where are they going to find that man?