Former South Africa cricketer Alviro Petersen says that the current crop of top order batters the team has produced seem to be satisfied by scoring big fifties and not targeting big hundreds which concerns him. Petersen says big scores will help the team in winning matches.
During 2021, South Africa played six Tests in which three batters – Faf du Plessis, Qunton de Kock (both retired) and Aiden Markram – in the top order scored hundreds. Petersen though thinks the current batters are capable of producing big totals but they have to change their mindsets before.
“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,” Petersen was quoted as saying by Times Live.
“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,” he added.
Citing the example of how India opener KL Rahul set the game up for his team with his century in the first Test, Petersen said these are the scores that 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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Petersen then reminisced the time when he played Test cricket for South Africa.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
He picked out the three-match series against England in 2012 when South Africa batters collectively peeled off five centuries in just 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,” he said.
South Africa trail the three-match Test series against India 0-1 with the second match set to start from Monday in Johannesburg.