CHENNAI: IT is not a great few months for South Africa cricket. After a dismal run in the World Cup, Cricket South Africa (CSA) opted against renewing head coach Ottis Gibson’s contract, which was due to run until the end of September. Few days later, two of their Test specialists Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn announced retirement.
With the team set to tour India for three T20Is and as many Tests starting September 15, former South Africa batsman Jonty Rhodes feels Virat Kohli & Co may start as favourites especially in the long format. The previous time when Proteas played India at home in 2015, the visitors suffered a 0-3 defeat.
“The (Indian) team that has a happy dressing room often converts that into winning ways on the field. You need the personnel, but you also need a good environment. South Africa is kind of yes or no right now,” he said.
CSA have opted for a football-style management structure post the World Cup. They appointed Enoch Nkwe as the interim team director for the tour of India and the entire backroom coaching staff was sacked along with Gibson.
“When you have an interim coach, it’s a difficult situation. Having played in the IPL, a few of the South Africa players are comfortable with the subcontinent. It’s not much of a unit that’s coming here. When the chips are down, you need the dressing room to stand up first. With the kind of results India have had at home, I don’t see much of a change in the scoreline.”
The 50-year-old believes Proteas were not dependent on Amla and Steyn in Tests, but they might have a tough time to find their replacement. “South Africa haven’t had AB de Villiers for a year already and Steyn has been in and out because of injuries. Amla unfortunately wasn’t in the best form. South Africa haven’t relied heavily on them. But in India, incredible players come through the ranks. South Africa, may be, don’t have that exposure. The jump from state to international cricket is quite big.”