Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen celebrate wicket
Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
- Proteas legend Allan Donald shares the widely held view that the national team should be able to topple the Sri Lankans in their upcoming Test series, starting on Saturday.
- South Africa have the cloud of an unexpected series loss to the Islanders last year still hanging over them, but Donald believes if they simply knuckle down, they should have too much firepower.
- The Knights coach also highlighted the experienced Faf du Plessis’ presence as vital.
Legendary Proteas fast bowler Allan Donald has joined the chorus of consensus that the national side’s upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka is aptly labelled as a proverbial Project Restart, but believes the Islanders are the ideal opposition to face at this stage.
Despite Mickey Arthur’s charges memorably and unexpectedly whitewashing South Africa in a two-match skirmish last year, the hosts are unlikely to fall into a similar trap of complacency.
“I think the talk around the series is about right. The Proteas should fancy their chances,” Donald, who was South Africa’s bowling coach for four years and currently mentors the Knights, told Sport24.
“Surely the lack of international cricket the local players have experienced will make them hungry to perform. Unless things go horribly wrong, I can’t see too many things going wrong for South Africa.”
Nevertheless, stranger things have happened in an immensely challenging 24-month period for the Proteas – some might even describe it as poor.
It’s little wonder then that Donald balances his general bullish outlook by noting that South Africa need to still heed the lessons of the past.
“I still think it’s justified to say that if there was a team the Proteas would be comfortable taking on, it’s Sri Lanka,” he said.
“But you never know. They have a wily coach in Mickey and I’ve read that they’ve come to our shores with a full-strength pace attack. That will spice things up.
“I think the most important thing for the Proteas is to just go out and do the job. That will go a long way towards their success.”
Firstly though, Mark Boucher, the national coach, will need to find a selection mix that not only absorbs the absence of pace kingpin Kagiso Rabada, but also effectively addresses a significant void in experience.
That’s why Donald is heartened by the continued presence of the evergreen, 36-year-old Faf du Plessis.
“Let’s not beat around the bush, the Proteas are missing a lot of experienced cricketers,” he said.
“That’s why Faf’s inclusion is so comforting. I don’t think he’d mind me calling him the granddad of the squad, because his wisdom and calmness will be massive.
“Along with Quinton de Kock, whom I believe is a pretty calm cricketer, they’ll be vital to SA’s cause. Calm heads equal a calm team.
“If they perform and lead, the Proteas will play well and probably be too strong.”
The first Test starts on Saturday in Centurion.
Quinton de Kock (captain, Titans), Temba Bavuma (Lions), Aiden Markram (Titans), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors), Sarel Erwee (Dolphins), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Kyle Verreynne (Cape Cobras), Migael Pretorius (Knights), Dwaine Pretorius (Lions), Lutho Sipamla (Lions), Raynard van Tonder (Knights).