BURNT OUT: Dale Steyn is not in the team after losing his fire.
The Proteas need some spark.

They are back in action today and we will be keeping on eye them to see whether they have learnt any lessons.

By far, they are the most disappointing national side South Africans have to suffer.

With the likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and company, they have what it takes to be the best in the world.

Not too long ago, they topped the Test rankings for a number of seasons, when they had the single-minded Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis at the helm.

Now they have dropped to sixth, just two years after the pair decided to call an end to their innings.

But it’s their eternal problems in tournaments that cause the fans the most pain.

From the 22-runs-off-one-ball in the 1992 World Cup semifinal, Allan Donald and Lance Klusener’s run-out mix-up in 1999 and the D/L mistake of 2003, things just don’t happen for the Proteas.

It got to the point where Cricket SA had to bring in 1995 Springbok captain Francois Pienaar as part of a review panel to help iron out the big problems.

And with reports that the four-person team disbanded yesterday, one has to wonder if coach Russell Domingo already has the memo.

His manne will take on the West Indies and Australia in the next couple of weeks and hopefully we see an upturn in the performance and results.

Many of the old problems are still there.

The biggest one for me is how rigid the gameplan is.

The team’s bowling attack is where it shows the most.

When I watch them, it’s easy to see that they are setting traps for opposition batsmen.

And it just doesn’t work in the big games.

After matches, they will say that the plan was perfect and that they just didn’t execute properly.

But the excuse gets as tired as the tactics.

The Proteas need to find a way to box cleverer.

I hope that they don’t just try the same things over and over this time.

Their plan to put batsmen under a pressure is too high-risk, with the short balls going for boundaries more often than to Proteas’ hands.

They need to back their bowlers to attack the stumps rather than buy wickets.

Playing to the plan takes away from the individual battles - the battle between batsman and bowler.

The one-on-one aspect of the attack has been sorely missing and the wickets are drying up.

I can only imagine that that has been the reason for the decline of “rested” Dale Steyn.

He is a fiery character and for him bowling outside off is just not his style.

They need their fire back.