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Sun May 29 17:22:59 CAT 2016

Proteas can blow in front doors at ICC T20

Alviro Petersen | 10 March, 2016 00:32
Alviro Petersen. File photo
Image by: Jan Kruger / Getty Images

The Proteas embark on the ICC World Twenty20 tournament with renewed determination and enthusiasm.

Faf du Plessis and his charges will be tested in India: they may not always succeed, but they need to continue on the journey towards an elusive World Cup title.

During the 2015 World Cup all the teams held common hopes.

The goal for the Proteas was to win the trophy, and the fear was not to crash out during the knockout stages.

The World Cup, hosted in Australia and New Zealand, had a number of firsts, along with fantastic individual and team performances.

South Africa won their first knockout fixture, New Zealand played in their maiden final, and Ireland proved they can compete against the big Test-playing nations.

But above all it was about you, the supporter. When Morné Morkel's eyes welled up with tears, when Dale Steyn lay strewn on the Eden Park pitch and AB de Villiers fell to his knees, the hopes of a nation disappeared.

Yet you stood by the team because you felt the players' pain and they felt yours. It was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and a country began to heal.

While Russell Domingo's men will have to face their fears and uncertainties, South Africa head to the tournament as one of the favourites.

The selectors have picked a very strong squad that covers every department. Powerful batsmen, wonderful all-rounders and fantastic strike bowlers.

Couple that with world-class skill and dogged determination, and this could be the time we don't have to look back at past generations, but prepare the road to success for our future stars.

But, for the Proteas to prosper, they need to get their best 11 on the field and then assemble the players in the correct order.

Cricket SA faces the conundrum of fitting three players into two positions. Do they opt for Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock as openers and bat De Villiers at No3?

Though destructive upfront, De Villiers has a knack of winning matches at the back end of an innings.

I suspect pitches prepared for the tournament will prove conducive to batting. The "power play", something the Proteas have targeted, will be important. It's key to maximising your run-scoring potential upfront.

However, it's a fine balancing act. While a good run rate is imperative, as a top-order batsman you are under pressure not to lose your wicket if the ball is moving around in the first few overs, which can occur in Indian conditions.

Having wickets in hand towards the end of an innings will be pivotal in order to score as many runs as possible in the last five overs.

And so, like building a house, you need to ensure that the foundation is strong enough to carry the weight. The aim for the Proteas is to build a house that is sturdy and unwavering in the face of the fiercest storms.

If they come together to begin the hard work of rebuilding and persevere in the face of setbacks, then I have no doubt that this house will stand, and the dreams of many South Africans will live on in our time.

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