Five Proteas, in particular, are pursuing change in 2020.
Long-term match fitness for Lungi Ngidi
- Injuries have limited Ngidi’s brief international career. The Proteas need more from him in Test cricket in the absence of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. If he is well and truly going to spearhead the seam attack alongside Kagiso Rabada for the foreseeable future, Ngidi needs to be match fit for longer periods.
A recall for Theunis de Bruyn
- De Bruyn has been dropped from the Test squad on the back of public criticism from Graeme Smith a couple of months ago. Smith hadn’t filled the director of cricket role at the time. Aiden Markram’s injury could have meant a recall for De Bruyn. Instead, the uncapped Keegan Petersen was added to the Test squad.
Bigger and better from Temba Bavuma
- Pressure is mounting on Bavuma, after Rassie van der Dussen enjoyed a decent debut in Centurion. Bavuma isn’t necessarily being groomed as the next Test captain anymore, after Faf du Plessis’ tenure was extended into 2020. With plenty of other talent around, average numbers for a lengthy period are catching up with Bavuma.
Philander-esque performances for Dwaine Pretorius
- Opportunity knocks for Pretorius to be the Proteas’ premier Test all-rounder, especially after the retirement of Vernon Philander. Graeme Smith has persuaded him not to sign a Kolpak contract. He is ahead of Andile Phehlukwayo in the pecking order in Test cricket. It is, indeed, Pretorius’ time to shine.
Change and constants for Quinton de Kock
- De Kock doesn’t necessarily want to bat as high as fourth in the order in Test cricket. He is comfortable at six or seven and will open in ODI and T20I cricket. He is happy to stay on as wicketkeeper, too. That’s not necessarily good news for Kyle Verreynne. De Kock will likely be the captain for the T20 World Cup in Australia, though.