Ottis Gibson backs Proteas’ Amla‚ Elgar and Markram to come good

14 December 2018 - 16:40 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
South Africa coach Ottis Gibson with fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and Ottis Gibson.
South Africa coach Ottis Gibson with fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and Ottis Gibson.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

South Africa host Pakistan in the series that starts on Boxing Day in Centurion and is followed two instalments in Cape Town and Johannesburg in the new year where Gibson is hoping that the crucial specialist batting trio will return to form.

Elgar‚ Markram and Amla disappointed during Proteas’ last Test series to Sri Lanka in Galle and Colombo last year in July‚ where they all failed to go past half centuries on slower subcontinent conditions.

“There is no concern with regards to them‚” he said on Friday.

“Aiden scored a 1000 runs last year and he is he is back on familiar home conditions.

“What happened in Sri Lanka has no relevance here even though Pakistan may choose spinners. Here in South Africa‚ wickets don’t spin as much as they do in Sri Lanka.

“With regards to Dean‚ he is an absolute street fighter. He is always close to hitting a double hundred and that is fantastic.

“Coming to ‘Hash’ [Amla]‚ he has been carrying niggles that have not allowed him to do the things that he wanted to do. For him it is to get back to the nets and work on the things that he needs to work on‚ but he is an experienced player for us.

“He had dips in form but he knows what he needs to do. I have spoken to him since I arrived in the country on Wednesday night and he will be desperate to get back into action. I have no concerns about them.”

In the Test match in Galle last year‚ the three players scored a combined 46 runs with Markram and Amla failing to add anything to the scoreboard in the second innings as the Proteas lost by 278 runs.

They showed slight improvement in the second and final Test in Colombo where they collectively contributed 83 runs‚ with Elgar getting out for a duck in the first innings as South Africa lost by 199 runs.

Looking ahead to the Centurion Test‚ Gibson indicated that with Lungi Ngidi definitely out with an injury and Vernon Philander a doubt‚ he may go with Dale Steyn‚ Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier as the three frontline fast bowlers.

On the batting front‚ Cape Cobras batsman Zubayr Hamza may make his Proteas debut if Theunis de Bruyn‚ who scored a century in his last Test match against Sri Lanka last year‚ does not recover from injury.

“The ideal scenario is to have a settled batting lineup with the top five knowing exactly where they stand‚” Gibson said.

“Theunis [De Bruyn] scored a hundred in his last game and he is the man in possession at the moment.

“But we will have to see how he manages his injury situation in the couple of days. If he does not come through‚ there is a strong possibility Hamza will play.”