Russell Domingo has confirmed that Theunis de Bruyn is the first in line to replace Faf du Plessis in the first Test against England.
De Bruyn, who captains the Knights, has been on the fringes of a Test call-up for some time and was finally included in the squad for the Proteas’ Test series against Sri Lanka.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in that series but eventually made his debut in the third Test against New Zealand. Unfortunately, he didn’t enjoy the best of starts as he was dismissed for a duck in the first innings and was run out for 12 in the second innings, as the Proteas drew the Test in Hamilton and claimed a 1-0 series victory.
It seemed an unfair decision to send a specialist No 3 batsman to the top of the order on his debut, but the exclusion of Du Plessis for the opening Test against England should see him bat lower down the order in more familiar territory.
SA A captain, Aiden Markram, is also a candidate to replace the Proteas skipper, but Domingo has confirmed that De Bruyn should nudge him for selection.
‘Theunis played the one match in New Zealand. As you know there’s been a sense of fairness to players,’ said the Proteas coach to the media on Monday.
‘We haven’t really discarded a player after one Test match. So at the moment he would be in line and should be ahead of a guy like Aiden [Markram]in the pecking order and of course, Heino [Kuhn] will come in at the top of the order to replace Stephen Cook.’
De Bruyn led the Knights to the 2016-17 Sunfoil Series Trophy and impressed with the bat, ending third on the batting charts with 751 runs in nine matches, scoring two centuries and four fifties @ 57.76.
He will hope he can show similar form in the first Test against England, which kicks off on Thursday.