Now that the fat lady has sung and South Africa's premature exit from the World Twenty20 has been confirmed, it feels a little difficult to judge the impact of it all.

It's easy to judge the team's performances in the Super Eights of course - that can be filed under 'wretched' - but such was the intensity of the successful Test series in England that few South African cricket supporters seem to have been emotionally invested in the World Twenty20.

Similarly, when the Proteas stepped out for their final match against India on Tuesday, the day marked three months since many of them had left home. Motivation levels were surely being tested.

But even if the Proteas might find forgiveness easier to come by than when they arrived home from last year's World Cup, the tournament still raised a series of questions.

1. What happened to the senior batsmen?

In any major tournament, responsibility must fall on the experienced players to lead from the front. Yet Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis both had terrible tournaments with the bat, which piled pressure onto the less experienced middle order in every game that mattered. That was the biggest problem in the games against Pakistan, when SA were 28 for three after 6.1 overs, and Australia, when they were 33 for three after 5.5 overs.

For all his prowess in the Test and ODI formats, questions over Amla's Twenty20 abilities remain. After 15 internationals he is yet to score a half-century, and although he makes plenty of starts they rarely come at a strike rate that sets up the rest of the innings. Meanwhile AB de Villiers' talents were wasted when he continually delayed his arrival at the crease. Which brings us to our next question.

2. What was the gameplan?

Throughout the tournament there were some strange selections, and it wasn't until the final match that South Africa arrived on their best combination. Richard Levi's blitz in New Zealand earlier this year was indeed impressive, but by the time he arrived in Sri Lanka it was clear that he was struggling to repeat that performance on pitches that didn't have the same pace, and to clear boundaries of proper length. Even a pressure-free fifty against Zimbabwe couldn't hide the string of single-digit scores in England, yet he continued to be preferred to the adaptable Faf du Plessis.

Similarly, when Albie Morkel was left out for the game against Australia, the selectors opted for a bits and pieces player like Wayne Parnell rather than backing an out-and-out batsman or bowler. South Africa already had plenty of options with bat and ball but not enough specialists, so Parnell didn't bat and was given just two overs with the ball, going for 24 runs.

As far as the batting order went, De Villiers' deferment against Pakistan was baffling. Despite his side being in a hole, SA's best batsman came in at number six - behind Farhaan Behardien - by which time just 7.3 overs remained. It all seemed quite muddled. As Ian Chappell said as he reflected on this during the India game, "Sometimes South Africa just do not help themselves."

3. Should we have expected more?

When South Africa returned from the tri-series in Zimbabwe, having lost to both the hosts and Bangladesh, Gary Kirsten's message was that time would tell how useful the trip had been. With hindsight, those results were as bad as they looked in the scorebook because more than half of the team that played Pakistan and Australia was part of the touring party to Zimbabwe. Even if there was plenty of experimentation, they had no right to lose three out of five games against such lowly opposition.

Equally concerning was that the trip did not seem to provide a great deal of insight into what SA's best team was. Behardien earned a place in the World T20 side on the basis of it, but Du Plessis' 66 in the final - made under pressure - was not enough for him to grab a starting slot once the rested players returned.

4. Will De Villiers' captaincy improve?

When he took over the limited-overs reins last year, De Villiers' lack of captaincy experience was the biggest question mark, with many wondering whether he had the tactical nous required. While he has certainly given the one-day and Twenty20 sides a fresh injection of energy, certain decisions in this tournament highlighted the fact that he is not a natural cricket captain in the tactical sense. His own indecision on when he should bat was one, while another was his choice of bowlers in the last five overs against Pakistan, which ultimately had the biggest impact on SA's tournament.

The good news was that De Villiers admitted as much, saying in the aftermath that "captaincy wise there were one or two errors there". Similarly he was almost too willing to front up to questions about choking. The next realisation must be that an ability to admit when you're wrong is admirable, but the ability to get it right the next time is far more important in international sport. Given that De Villiers was effectively picked as captain at the expense of Johan Botha, who skippered his country in 10 ODIs and 11 T20s and lost only five of those matches, he has some standards to live up to. It's still early days, but so far De Villiers' one-day record (won eight, lost four) is good, thanks largely to the 3-0 win in New Zealand, while his Twenty20 record reads won five, lost five.

5. What's the story with Wayne Parnell?

Having sprung to prominence four years ago when he made his international debut in Australia, Parnell's career appears to have stalled of late. After an excellent World Twenty20 in 2009 he earned a place in the Test side, but was underwhelming in the three matches he played in early 2010. Since then he has been increasingly boxed as a limited overs player, but his economy rates in both formats (5.57 in ODIs and 8.10 in T20Is) have left much to be desired.

There also seems to be some confusion over exactly what his role is. As mentioned above, his selection against Australia seemed to owe as much to the fact that he can bat a bit as it did to his bowling (otherwise Lonwabo Tsotsobe would have seemed the better bet), yet currently he is nowhere near allrounder status. Parnell is still only 23, a fact which has probably kept him in the side of late as Kirsten gives the left-armer time to grow. But he needs to show signs of improvement soon.

Tristan Holme