Test cricket, as most international cricketers will tell you, is the highpoint of the sport and for that reason it is a huge occasion every time South Africa wears white.
2019, however, is different. It might mean more to the Proteas than the other top teams given their history of failure at the tournament, but this is a World Cup year and that will be the import between now and South Africa’s opener at The Oval in contradiction of hosts England on May 30.
Proteas have tried, and failed, on seven detached events to win the World Cup and the nightmares of 1999 and 2015, in precise, still haunt fans of the game in these parts. All roads this year are towards Lord’s final on July 19, so a home Test series against a struggling Pakistan might not appear the most significant task for the Proteas at the moment.
“It’s certainly something that is always in the back of my head,” skipper Faf du Plessis said of the World Cup while in Cape Town on the eve of the second Test.
“You’re continuously thinking about decisions that will impact it.”
Du Plessis had confirmed previously in his press conference that Duanne Olivier, the hero of the first Test at Centurion, would play at Newlands.With Vernon Philander back, it means that one of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj or Theunis de Bruyn will be out of the XI.
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