Alviro Petersen: 'It's a concern SA are not scoring big hundreds consistently'
Former Proteas opener Alviro Petersen says SA top order batters need to change their mindset to overcome frailties and start scoring big hundreds again.
In Test matches last year against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and India, Proteas top order batters only scored three centuries and Petersen says it is not enough.
SA centurions over the past year were the retired Faf du Plessis (199) against Sri Lanka, Aiden Markram (108) against Pakistan and the retired Quinton de Kock (141) against the West Indies.
“If you look at the SA batting line-up at the moment, I always look at the hundreds scored,” said Petersen, who played 36 Tests for SA in which he scored 2,093 runs including five centuries.
“I look at guys who can score hundreds, I look at domestic cricket and ask how often do they score hundreds because that is the yardstick when it comes to Test cricket.
“You need players batting for lengths of time and batting consistently well. If you look over the past years, there were guys who had lots of first class hundreds and at the moment you don’t see that in the national team.
“Despite what is the standard of first class cricket at the moment, players need to be scoring hundreds week in and week out and unfortunately that is not happening at the moment.”
Petersen said in his years of playing Test cricket between 2010 and 2015, achieving his highest score of 185 against England, high scores under 100 were just not good enough.
“In the era where I played Test cricket, 70s, 80s or even a 90 or a hundred sometimes weren’t good enough. Guys were always talking about scoring big scores of 150, 200 or even more.
“It just seems to me that at the moment if a guy scores a 50 it is OK and I think they need to change that mindset and start targeting big hundreds or even double hundreds.”
To illustrate the difference between his generation and the current players, Petersen recalled a three-match series against England in 2012 where SA scored five centuries in six innings.
“I remember we played England at the Oval and they got close to 400 and we still beat them by an innings because guys were able to score big runs. In that first Test match, Graeme Smith got a hundred (131), Hashim Amla scored a triple hundred (311) and Jacques Kallis (182) got a hundred.
“In one Test match we got three hundreds and in the next Test match I got 182 and Amla scored another hundred (121) in the third Test. So in three Test matches we got five hundreds.
“The fact that we are not scoring big hundreds consistently is a matter of concern for me and I am saying this because there is a huge difference to where SA was then to where we are at the moment.
“I am sure the current players are capable of scoring the big runs but it is just an issue of changing the mindset and not being satisfied with certain things. Don’t be satisfied with scoring 50s and 60s because those numbers won’t win you games.
“What will win you games are big scores like 150 and 200 because that sets you apart from other players and teams. In the Boxing Day Test against India, KL Rahul played fantastically well by scoring 123 to give his team a solid first innings lead and he proved to be the difference.
“If we had one South African maybe scoring 120 or more and getting another good partnership, India's first innings lead could have been reduced to maybe less than 50 runs and you are in the game.”
Captain Dean Elgar was the Proteas’ top scorer with 77 in the second innings of the 113-run Boxing Day Test loss to India and they will be looking to get it right in the second match at the Wanderers on Monday.
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