NEEDS OPTIONS: Stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis

Test cricket in South Africa in August? Sounds a bit too early for me.

The ongoing two-match series against New Zealand feels a bit forced — like Cricket SA got the leading edge trying to casually flick one over mid-wicket.

The opening game in Durban was rained out with less than 100 overs bowled and conditions in late winter can’t be any more suitable for top-class cricket anywhere else in the country right now.

The next clash in Centurion won’t be what you usually expect at the Highveld ground.

Ideally, that ground plays right into the hands of the Proteas pace attack.

But the sun is not at its most intense right now and it could be another damp squib.

There will be questions about the bowling attack if they are unable to take the 20 wickets they need to win a Test match.

And with the selectors going into the match with a three-man pace bombardment and one spinner, stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis might find himself short of options in once action starts in the nation’s capital.

Faf and coach Russell Domingo will have to look at the balance of the team and try to bring in something different.

Their Durban XI didn’t have a recognised all-rounder.

Vernon Philander is the closest we had in that category.

But if you asked him how seriously he takes his batting session in the nets, he will probably admit that he didn’t do one on that day.

So who else is there? Dane Piedt has shown he can do more than take guard when he turns out for the Cape Cobras, but he was No.11 at Kingsmead.

How about Dean Elgar? He can spin a couple of overs for you, but not really.

Then there’s JP Duminy.

With AB de Villiers recovering from injury and sitting out this series, JP was asked to bat at four - such an important role in the line-up.

JP shouldn’t be thinking about anything else but making a moerse hundred in his position.

So I’ll rule him out of anything more than an emergency for Faf to call on.

But I’m sure Wayne Parnell and Chris Morris can do the job if given the chance.

It will of course mean a batsman needs to be sacrificed. And who would that be?

Well, who came in for AB would be the place to start or drop someone out of form.

At the start of the season, this could be a tough decision to make with conditions not really conducive to cricket.

But can the Proteas really expect to win a Test match with four bowlers?