South Africa has always been known for having an exceptional bowling attack. Through the years we’ve seen the likes of Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Mornè Morkel and Vernon Philander dominate world cricket with honourable mentions for Kyle Abbott, Marchant de Lange, Charl Langevelt, Kagiso Rabada and a few more.
In recent times though we’ve had Rabada leading the attack, we’ve lost a genuine partner on the other end as well as back up after them. Anrich Nortje has come on leaps and bounds since his debut last year but is by no means a world-beater yet. The two-match series against Sri Lanka that’s just finished saw a debut for young up and comer Lutho Sipamla and a return for Lungi Ngidi. Who else in SA has the pace and skill level to shine in the international area?
Much has been made on social media about Kyle Abbott returning to South African shores, but at 33 years old his best years might be behind him already. In my opinion, if he is here to stay, he has more value to add in the domestic set up as a mentor to young bowlers.
However, if you look around, you’ll find we are blessed with some great options for the future. Glenton Stuurman was originally in the squad and perhaps primed for a debut when an injury caused him to miss out completely. Domestically, Stuurman has been in excellent form, and he deserves another look to see whether or not he is fit for the tour of Pakistan! Beuran Hendricks withdrew due to COVID but was brought back in after passing the protocols put in place. Hendricks has been a domestic stalwart and took a 5 wicket haul in his last Test for the Proteas. Migael Pretorius, current top wicket-takers in the 4day competition, and a serious option for a Protea call up. As we look further down the line, the likes of Lifa Ntanzi springs to mind, as well as Daryn Dupavillon. George Coetzee is another young speedster, but he looks another season or two away from being ready for the big time.
We also have Marco Jansen, a skilled left-arm seamer, who has also recently done well. All in all, we are probably 1 maybe 2 years away from having a proper scary bowling attack again.
The Proteas’ are in transition at the moment, bringing in younger players that have the talent to make it internationally but lack the experience. As some of the younger players are introduced into the squad, it’s evident that in a few seasons, the older ones will move on, of their own accord, or pushed out by their own form not holding up.
A new era is on the horizon for South Africa and one that, in my opinion, can take us to the top once again! We have young talent coming through the ranks, not only in the bowling department but in the batting and all-rounder positions too! This bodes well for the future and fills the fans with hopes of being no.1 in the world again, and has us dreaming of that ever-elusive World Cup victory.