Cricket 6.2.2018 12:18 pm

Four Kolpak gems the Proteas could use right now

Colin Ingram. (Photo by Pat Scala/Getty Images)

Colin Ingram. (Photo by Pat Scala/Getty Images)

The national side’s batting depth is squarely in the spotlight in the ODI series against India. Could these stalwarts have made a difference?

Despite the insistence of batting coach Dale Benkenstein that the strongest batting line-up is currently available for the injury-ravaged Proteas, there are ever growing depth concerns.

South Africa slumped to a record low 118 all out in the second ODI against India at the weekend with Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers absent due to injury.

Now, Quinton de Kock is out of the picture too.

Had it not been for Du Plessis’ magnificent 120 in Durban’s first match, the batting would’ve sunk too.

The exodus of local players taking up Kolpak contracts in England has certainly played its part in eroding depth.

Here are five experienced players who could’ve provided much-needed help.

COLIN INGRAM

Granted, the 32-year-old left-hander didn’t quite grab his chances at international level before despite averaging in excess of 33 and crafting three ODI hundreds.

But the suspicion persists that Ingram is the type of batter who matured after he turned 30.

The Warriors star is one of the most dominant batsmen in the franchise system still and has made a big impact overseas too.

Last season, he scored 564 first class runs at 71 for his county, Glamorgan, made 251 runs at a strike rate of 133 in this season’s Ram Slam T20 and became a cult hero in Australia last month with a brilliant stint with he Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash.

He made 277 runs at a strike rate of 139 there.

RILEE ROSSOUW

Rilee Rossouw. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Rilee Rossouw. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

The mercurial 28-year-old caught South Africa off-guard with his move to Hampshire.

Former Proteas coach Russell Domingo admitted wholeheartedly that Rossouw never gave him a chance to convince him to stay.

Regardless, it’s undeniable that South African cricket is missing him dearly.

His first year in England was disrupted by injury but Rossouw still made 196 runs at 65 in 50-over cricket and 255 T20 runs at a strike rate of 137 for Hampshire.

It’s also worth noting that his last series for the Proteas saw him claim the Man-of-the-Series award against Australia and he averages close to 40 in his international career.

DANE VILAS

Dane Vilas. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Dane Vilas. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

He only averaged 10 in his six Tests but that was at a time when the Proteas lost four of them.

Vilas remains one of those consistent performers where one wonders whether he wasn’t perhaps picked in the wrong format.

He scored over a 1000 first class runs for Lancashire in 2017 and has shown his worth for the Dolphins this season.

310 Sunfoil runs, 362 in the One-day Cup and 147 at a strike rate of 158 in the Ram Slam attests to his value.

He has the ability to plug up an end as well as hitting big.

STIAAN VAN ZYL

Stiaan van Zyl. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Stiaan van Zyl. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Van Zyl will, much like Ingram, be remembered for not grabbing his chance at international level.

However, the national selectors continued to try to revamp him into an opener when he’s so much more comfortable as a middle-order player.

Since joining Sussex, he’s adapted well.

He scored 1023 first class runs at almost 50 and surprised many with his versatility in scoring his T20 runs at a massive strike rate of 160.

Van Zyl is still at the Cobras but given coach Ashwell Prince’s reluctance to pick him, he might even be lost to franchise cricket too.

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