Perhaps for the likes of Morne Morkel and Chris Morris who have been involved in all three formats on this tour that may be the case, but this has been a strange tour too, with players coming and going at various intervals. In truth, there shouldn’t be any desperation to get home.
Captain Faf du Plessis also spent time in Cape Town after the birth of his first child, while many players took time away to play or watch golf last week. If anything they should be missing cricket.
However, the psychological weight of this trip will be wearying on many of them, particularly those who were involved in the ICC Champions Trophy. That was a desperately poor campaign, which ended in the group stages. The subsequent T20 series was messy, with players pulled in from the South Africa A team that was also in England at the time.
The Test series started with a thumping loss from which Du Plessis was absent and now following another big loss at The Oval, this tour is on the brink of being a horrible one for South African cricket.
As far as Du Plessis is concerned, the problems are fixable. A bit like after Lord’s, Du Plessis said it was basic mistakes that cost the Proteas at The Oval. However, unlike in the aftermath of Lord’s, where a number of changes were made, Du Plessis doesn’t feel the starting team needs changing for the fourth and final Test. Hopefully Vernon Philander will be healthier, Kagiso Rabada can maintain the rhythm he seemed to find in England’s second innings and Heino Kuhn can repay the faith that seems will be shown in him.