Hard work for Proteas starts now


It is, said either De Villiers or Morris, an old Afrikaans saying. It could be an old Afrikaans country song. “My heart fell through my bum; It fell right past my thumb; My broeks were on my shoes; And now I have the blues (Bulls).”

I am sure someone will be able to give me the exact old Afrikaans saying that means, “my heart fell through my bum”. I am sure it sounds better in Afrikaans than it does in English. English speakers, such as Morris, might have said their hearts were in their throats. Afrikaans speakers believe the heart does not go up in the body, but rather down and then through it, a passing that might explain the expression on Morris’s face when he thought he had been caught by Adil Rashid on 14. Rashid put down a sitter and it turned out to be the turning point of the match. Had he caught it, then the run-out of De Villiers, who was left face down, his bum, no doubt with heart already making the difficult journey towards said bottom, up in the air and well short of his ground, would have been the turning point. Or it could have been the beauty of a delivery by Chris Woakes to Faf du Plessis. No, wait, perhaps the caught-and-bowled by Reece Topley off Farhaan Behardien, whose mouth may have dropped a little further open than its usual half-mast, bemused position. Both De Villiers and Eoin Morgan bemoaned the missed chances on Friday night. Around a month ago De Villiers was cursing the chances South Africa had given England in the third Test to lose the series. Pressure makes the small mistakes bigger. On this tour South Africa have recovered from their stumbles slower than England. That is what makes teams great.

“We didn’t need a nine-downer tonight, but what a fantastic game,” said De Villiers. “A bit naughty with my run-out and a couple of soft wickets.” A ‘bit naughty’ is a polite way of saying panicked shots and silly runs. Yesterday, in the fifth and final ODI of the series, England batted poorly, but South Africa’s bowling was not much better. Mark Boucher was not impressed, neither was Nasser Hussein. Kagiso Rabada again showed his importance to the present and future of the Proteas as De Villiers aims to guide them through this trough back to the No.1 team in the world. They need sustained and sharper thinking, and it is severely lacking. There has been a tendency to take the foot off the throat of the opposition when they are down. This tour has been important to South Africa. It has shown them where they truly stand as a team, it has released Hashim Amla from the restrictions of captaincy and given the selectors and coaching staff a prod in the right direction. They have now found a Test opener and they have a batting coach in Neil McKenzie who is young enough to have played with some of them, battle-hardened enough to be respected and wise in the ways of the changeroom. Graeme Smith campaigned hard to get McKenzie back into the South African team both for his batting and for the spirit he brought to the changeroom. He has a ready wit and willing shoulder. He will be the fuel to the Protea fire this team speaks off.

England have provided us with the most glorious of entertainment over the summer. South Africa will be chasing them, but the next few years will not be easy ones to be a fan of the Proteas. There will be many times when hearts will fall through bums. - The Star

Chief Sports writer Kevin McCallum says the Proteas have their work cut out for them if they want to become the NO.1 team in the world again.

Original source: Hard work for Proteas starts now