• Bavuma to captain Proteas Test team

    Temba Bavuma has been appointed Proteas Test captain while Victor Mpitsang has been sacked as national convenor of selectors.

    The 32-year-old Bavuma will replace Dean Elgar at the helm of the Test team and continue to lead the ODI side. He has, however, relinquished the T20I captaincy.

    Bavuma’s first assignment will be to lead a 15-man squad in the two-match Test series against the West Indies in Centurion and Johannesburg from 28 February to 12 March.

    Elgar remains available to play for the Proteas after captaining them in 15 Tests during a near-two-year reign.

    With Mpitsang having been relieved of his duties, the current interim structure will see the head coaches of the Test and limited-overs teams, Shukri Conrad and Rob Walter, playing a leading role in squad selections.

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    The Proteas squad for the series against the West Indies sees a maiden Test call-up for Western Province opening batsman Tony de Zorzi, who has scored 489 runs at an average of 122.25 in the 4-Day Series. Sarel Erwee has been dropped.

    Ryan Rickelton is back in the squad after missing the Australia tour due to an “ankle injury” that didn’t prevent him from playing domestic cricket for the Lions, as is Aiden Markram, who was dropped.

    Keegan Petersen returns from a hamstring injury, while the Dragons’ Senuran Muthusamy joins the Test squad for the first time since 2019.

    Twenty-two-year-old fast bowler Gerald Coetzee has been preferred to Lungi Ngidi, and Kyle Verreynne has also been axed, with Heinrich Klaasen set to keep wicket.

    ALSO: Confident Coetzee going to get better – Simons

    “We believe we have selected the strongest possible group for this series against a strong West Indies team who are coming here fresh from beating Zimbabwe,” said Conrad.

    “We are pleased to see the likes of Keegan Petersen fit again and ready to play after his injury. He will add some much-needed stability to the batting, which has also been strengthened by the return of Aiden Markram and maiden call-up of Tony de Zorzi.

    “We look forward to a good series between two teams that are rebuilding and we expect to only get better as we spend more time together as a group in the weeks and months ahead.”

    Proteas Test squad – Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Gerald Coetzee (Knights), Tony de Zorzi (Western Province), Dean Elgar (Titans), Simon Harmer (Titans), Marco Jansen (Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Senuran Muthusamy (Dragons), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Keegan Petersen (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Ryan Rickelton (Lions).

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    Simon Borchardt