Since SA are currently dominating the Test cricket world and haven't lost a single Test match for over 18 months, I thought it would be a good time to imagine 2 hypothetical match ups to measure them by - firstly against Ali Bacher's previously recognised great South African side circa 1970. Although that side were sadly to be excluded from 1970 onwards due to a stand against Apartheid they did show a great demonstration of what they were capable of by whitewashing Bill Lawry's Australian side who had just come from a victorious tour of India. And some of the players did go on to be recognised as greats despite their Test exclusion.
The other match up would be against the other dominating side of the past 20 years, who are well documented and of course dominated for a lot longer at this stage - Australia. I've chosen the last line of this generation as it's the most recent, and they ended of course with that glorious Ashes whitewash.
Would be interesting comparing personnel in each position, playing styles, remembering great performances and theorising who might prevail in each match up - remembering that in some cases it's hard to rate players still playing as opposed to retired players who have done more in the final cut. Having said that it would be an interesting exercise creating a composite SA XI or composite modern SA/AUs XI to argue where the players would stand relative to each other and what the selection criteria would be in this case.
I purposely haven't included the great Windies side in this analysis because they are acknowledged as the greatest and I am seeing which modern side might come next.
I'll start off by selecting the players who I believe were most integral to each of these sides in the respective eras.
+AB De Villiers
F du Plessis
Let the debating/posturing/hero-worshipping begin...