x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Proteas dust off cobwebs

While many top players have been complaining about excess cricket these days, South Africa seem to be suffering from a drought of international engagements.

While many top players have been complaining about excess cricket these days, South Africa seem to be suffering from a drought of international engagements.

Before the current series against Australia, their last appearance as a team was at the World Cup in March, when they lost to New Zealand in the quarter-final.

India have travelled to the West Indies and England during this period. They are hosting the English now and also managed to squeeze in the Indian Premier League and the Champions League.

Australia toured Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, while Pakistan have been to the West Indies and Zimbabwe and are now playing a home series here in the UAE against Sri Lanka, who themselves played a full series in England.

Even Zimbabwe have played more cricket than their neighbours.

Only New Zealand have not featured in any international matches during this period. South Africa's six-month absence from the calendar is surprising.

Fans deserve to see a lot more South African cricket. Thankfully, they will be playing regularly in the coming months with home series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand scheduled.

Those two teams will watch the continuing contest with interest. The long break has caused ring rust among the Proteas, especially in the top order.

Jacques Kallis and Faf du Plessis have both said the team are struggling because of the lack of cricket.

Australia are rebuilding, but have the arsenal to dent the home side's confidence and turn this into a summer of toil for them.

arizvi@thenational.ae