The South African team who takes on England in the first Test in Durban will differ from the one who went down in New Delhi.
SuperSport analysts Kepler Wessels, Eric Simons and Neil McKenzie look ahead to the England series, which starts with the first of four Tests on 26 December.
McKenzie: ‘I think England will look at the South African side and say, we’ve played them over the last couple of years and they have been a really quality outfit. They will look at the India series and take a bit of confidence out of it. South Africa are in a bit of building period. There is quite a few places up for grabs, but England are in the same predicament as well because they have injuries and they’ve got a few questions that need answering as well so it’s going to be a quality series.’
Simons: ‘I don’t think any team will go into the series in South Africa as favourites having come from similar situations in the sense that they’ve lost a Test series in conditions that don’t really suit them.’
On selection for the England series
McKenzie: ‘With regards to South Africa, I like the character in the side. For me it’s going to be interesting to see how the selectors react. I think it’s anyone’s guess over who’s going to open the batting and there are a few other areas of concern.’
Wessels: ‘I think the team for the first Test in Durban will look a lot different than the one who played in New Delhi. If Dale Steyn is fit he will be back in the side, Kagiso Rabada will come into the side for the injured Vernon Philander and I do think that Quinton de Kock will come back so there ‘s a few changes already. I think Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma will be the openers, I don’t think the selectors will make a change there for the first two Tests. If it doesn’t go well Elgar and Bavuma will come under pressure I guess, but there is also not a lot of people pushing them unless you go back to guys like Stephen Cook and Andrew Puttick.’
On South Africa’s first-choice spinner
Wessels: ‘Are they going to have a specialist spinner? I think there will be a temptation to go with four quick bowlers and seven batsmen with Quinton de Kock keeping wicket. If JP Duminy, which is a big if right now, keeps his place in the team then he can fill that role. That may be the way they start the series because they will feel that lengthens the batting and it doesn’t expose them as much as they were perhaps exposed against India.’
On Quinton de Kock opening the batting
Wessels: ‘I don’t think it’s a bad call. It’s definitely worth thinking about. Quinton has opened the batting a lot in his career and you could do that and still let him keep because he’s still young. I think it definitely needs some thinking.’
Picture: Associated Press