A 17-man squad has been named for the first half of the Proteas’ four-Test series against England. These five players were arguably fortunate to be included.
- Faf du Plessis has been confirmed as the Test captain for the foreseeable future, so grooming Bavuma for that role is effectively off the table for now. And with Rassie van der Dussen now in the squad, the pressure is on the diminutive right-hander.
- With Pieter Malan selected and Quinton de Kock able to open the batting alongside Dean Elgar, perhaps Markram should have been given more time for his injured hand to heal. Even then, maybe he isn’t really good enough to be selected ahead of Malan.
- The all-rounder last played Test cricket in early 2018, but has a permanent fixture in the ODI and T20I teams since. He’s effectively been rewarded for limited-overs form here, but his value with bat and ball in the longest format remains questionable.
- Hendricks, indeed, offers that left-arm variation. But does a seam attack spearheaded by Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada really need a southpaw variation, especially when left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj is around?
- Second’s chance seemed to have come and gone with injury prior to the Test series in India earlier this year, but he’s back. He could just as easily have been overlooked for Heinrich Klaasen or Kyle Verreynne, though.
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