The Proteas are using the first ODI against Bangladesh on Sunday as the first step to the World Cup in 2019.
As Mao Zedong once famously said, ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’, and in this mode the Proteas are looking for travelling companions.
From here on in, the selectors and coach Ottis Gibson will be looking at young players who could feature in the World event.
‘Our policy over the next two years is to try and have a look at more players than we usually do,’ Proteas captain Faf du Plessis said in Kimberley ahead of the first of three ODIs.
‘Over the last two to three years we have had a settled one-day unit, there hasn’t been a lot of guys coming in. We have a vision for the next two years to try and see how we can grow players and how they can fit into the strongest XI in a World Cup side.
‘There are a few players in the squad for this series,’ he said. ‘We will try to use the opportunity to play everyone, but our squad will also change, we don’t want to just look at 15 players, we want to look a group of 20-plus players over the next few years. It will be a great opportunity to see some new guys.’
For this match, though, the Proteas are likely to stick with the tried and trusted, with a battery of all-rounders to back up Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir as the senior bowlers.
They will need to start strongly.
‘Bangladesh has proven in white-ball cricket that they can perform outside of their country,’ Du Plessis said. ‘Remember the Champions Trophy when they made the semi-finals.
‘Their record in Test cricket away from home is completely different, in white-ball cricket they have shown they are a dangerous side. The Test match victory was nice, and we dominated them, but we are expecting a different challenge in the one-day series.
‘We want to prove a point in one-day cricket. Last year was a good year for us, bar the Champions Trophy. There were a lot of good things that we did to get ourselves to No 1 in the world, by playing some good dominating cricket. We are looking to do more of the same this year, and it will be important to start it against Bangladesh ahead of big tours next year.’
South Africa (probable): 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 JP Duminy, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 David Miller, 7 Wayne Parnell, 8 Dwaine Pretorius, 9 Andile Phehlukwayo, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Imran Tahir
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix