It was nice to see the Proteas win a Test match and a series – even if it was just one game.
They say a journey of a 1 000 miles starts with a single step.
That series win over New Zealand was South Africa’s first since beating the West Indies at the beginning of 2015.
So here’s hoping it’s the beginning of something good for the SA cricket team.
In the last while they have been inconsistent, playing without purpose since their World Cup 2015 exit.
They just haven’t been the same team since that Auckland semifinal, failing to put away Bangladesh and being schooled by India and England.
The confidence that they gave the England team over the last summer was particularly concerning after losing on home soil – are we not the best in our own backyard anymore?
The performances of the likes of Morné Morkel and Faf du Plessis really hurt the morale of the team.
And even more painful was how Hashim Amla looked like he had no fire left, and Dale Steyn breaking down.
But after being “dropped” from the team for the |triangular series in the West Indies and a proper recovery, Steyn looks like the old Phalaborwa Express again.
His 8/99 in the 204-run demolition of the Black Caps shot him back to the top of the ICC Test bowler rankings – where he holds the record for most days at the summit.
He has that glint in the eye that only he and Muttiah Muralitharan have really had.
And when Steyn has his speed up and is hunting you down like a sniper, he is the most fearsome and awesome bowler in the game.
It’s great to have him back.
Especially because he wears his heart on his sleeve and says it like it is.
So when he opened up about how the Proteas were struggling to find their way as a team, the whole slump made sense.
Even the panel that was |commissioned to probe what may be the problems in the Proteas’ performances now seems irrelevant if the players themselves have found their way back from the brink of oblivion.
Steyn says he and his fired-up Proteas are back on the right path and plan to regain the top spot in the Test rankings after falling as far down as seventh.
They shouldn’t get ahead of themselves, though, with a trip Down Under in |November.
There they will face the pink ball for the first time and I hope this new bravado has them less scared of starring in a day/night Test – it was |supposed to be fun, guys.
There are of course positives about the Proteas’ |collective slump.
With Dale, Vernon |Philander and Morkel struggling at stages, we saw the rise and rise of Kagiso Rabada.
And having Quinton de Kock as an option at the top of the order in the Test arena is another exciting prospect.