Cricket South Africa convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang believes the upcoming Test series against the West Indies is an important corner for the Proteas to turn.
South Africa’s record in the longer format over the past two years has been dismal and external factors have not helped Mark Boucher’s cause of building a new, formidable Test outfit.
CSA announced the squads for the upcoming tours to the West Indies and Ireland on Tuesday, with Dean Elgar to skipper the Proteas in two red-ball clashes with the men from the Caribbean.
The Proteas have not played Test cricket in the West Indies in more than a decade and Mpitsang believes it is critical the team gets back to winning ways.
‘This is a massive outing for the Proteas. We have a fully fit team with an exciting balance of youth and experience. The selection panel is confident that it has put together an exciting, and excited, young group of cricketers that will be well led by Dean [Elgar] and Temba [Bavuma],’ Mpitsang said in a statement.
‘The Caribbean is well known for its low and slow wickets and we have ensured that we have chosen the personnel needed for every eventuality on this very important excursion. While there aren’t any [ICC World Test Championship] points to play for, it is still of vital importance for South Africa to produce winning results through a steadily growing and high-performing cricket pipeline.
‘The historic tour to Ireland is crucial for points towards our qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup and preparation for the T20 World Cup later this year. This is the start of our road to these trophies and every tour will see us field our absolute best sides.
‘The team has been in a rebuilding phase for a while now but we are satisfied that the return on investment is going to show itself sooner rather than later. We have to trust the process that has been put in place and support our team while they find themselves and their way. These are truly exciting times in South African cricket, with an exciting new leadership group that is determined to return the team back to its winning ways.’
The Proteas will also face the West Indies in five T20Is before departing for Ireland to compete in three ODIs and three T20Is.
The Proteas suffered ODI and T20I defeats in their final series of the summer by Pakistan and will also need to start earning results ahead of the T20 World Cup in India later this year.