Smith: Proteas need time to become finished article

The 4th Test between the Proteas and England gets underway at the Wanderers on Friday with South Africa trailing 2-1.

FILE: CSA's director of cricket Graeme Smith. Picture: @GraemeSmith49/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Interim Cricket South Africa CEO Graeme Smith on Thursday insisted that the Proteas were in a rebuilding phase and it needed time to become the finished article.

The 4th Test between the Proteas and England gets underway at the Wanderers on Friday with South Africa trailing 2-1.

South Africa will be without star bowler Kagiso Rabada at the Wanderers after he was given a fourth demerit point for his celebration when dismissing Joe Root on day 1 of the third test in Port Elizabeth.

Smith said while Rabada was a big loss to the side, it gave other players a chance to step up.

"There is an element of consistency from the ICC that we need to get and understand but we cannot have our gun bowler missing games for these types of things anymore. I think it's a good thing he is being rested in this series, we need to see some other people step up and start filling that void and taking some pressure off him. Maybe that will help as well," he said.

Much has been made of the batting line up and their failure to come to the party in this series.

South Africa have not scored more than 300 in any of their 6 innings while no individual has managed to score a century so far in the series.

“International cricket is very different, players could have the ability and they get to the big stage and the pressure is different, the standards are different and there are a lot more eyeballs on you. These are the things that we have to try to up-skill players on and get them ready for so that hopefully when they get there, they are a little bit closer to that level of performance,” he said.

South Africa have lost a number of key players in the test arena over the last five years, including the likes the AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Hashim Amla. That list will have one more name on it at the conclusion of this series with Vernon Philander set to retire from international cricket.

Smith praised Philander’s ability to front up to any challenge on the field and insisted that they must find a way to keep him in the system.

“He is a fantastic competitor, he’s got that bit between his teeth and how he got into contests was just phenomenal. An element of that needs to come back into our national side, how guys front up to pressure, perform when needed and step up when the moments are right. Now the conversation is how we keep him in the system because his knowledge and skill when it comes to bowling is something that we can’t afford to lose,” he said.