Genuine concerns of workload and fatigue in Proteas camp if words from skipper Faf Du Plessis ahead of the fifth ODI on January 30 in Cape Town are anything to go by.
Pakistan rolled past the hosts' batting line-up in Jo'burg and clinched a series-levelling victory by eight wickets to build enough pressure on South Africa before the much-anticipated decider.
Du Plessis conceded that his team's overall performance in the fourth ODI where they were bundled out for just 164 in 41 overs was "average" and said, "There was some average cricket from us, but some very good cricket from Pakistan. It's tough to look at the positives. I'm picking up lots of valuable lessons about the balance of the side, looking at what we're missing at the moment."
"Even though we are losing, I assume the younger guys are getting a lot of experience. I can speak for myself, even when losing, there's clarity on how I see us moving forward with the team."
The home side next plays Sri Lanka for a full series of two Tests, 5 ODIs and three T20Is before the focus shifts to the Indian Premier League(IPL) and the ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
"That's in the back of my mind when I can see that some of the guys are tired, mentally and physically," Du Plessis added, "It's a balancing act, we've got a big game that's coming up but it's really important that we also make sure that we have guys getting enough game time as well."
"I think we're going to try and rest the Test squad players for the T20s. Right now, I can see that there's a few tired bodies on the field and that's a concern."
(Inputs from Sport24)