CSA has announced its T20I and Test squads for the upcoming tour of the Caribbean against the West Indies. CARL LEWIS highlights some interesting talking points.
Finality on AB
Let’s get this out of the way first. CSA confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that the mercurial batter will not be up for international selection ahead of the T20 World Cup. As much as I, in a heartbeat, would have taken De Villiers back for the World Cup, it’s a good thing for South Africa that this issue has finally been put to bed. It has been an ongoing circus for years now whether he would play or not, and now the South African public and CSA can move forward.
No Faf in T20I squad is puzzling
After an impressive IPL 2021, Du Plessis’s exclusion came as a surprise considering the World Cup is set for later this year.
Chief selector Victor Mpitsang said: ‘The selection panel felt he was not required for this tour but that does not exclude him for selection for the World Cup.’
Unless this was agreed on between CSA and Du Plessis, it makes no sense. The combination of Quinton de Kock and Du Plessis as openers with Temba Bavuma coming in at three needed time to gel. His experience and presence around the squad would be valuable as the Proteas’ World Cup preparation picks up steam. Besides his experience, Du Plessis is playing some outstanding cricket right now and is the form South African T20 batter in the squad.
Seniors must step up
If we are honest, South Africa do not boast a squad that instil fear in other nations in the T20 format. However, in T20 cricket, individuals can single-handedly win matches and, luckily for South Africa, they have a few world-class players in their ranks.
If the Proteas are to do well against the Windies or at the World Cup, senior players have to somehow raise their international levels which have been stagnating. Quinton de Kock’s form is a major concern at the top of the order. De Kock alongside Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and skipper Temba Bavuma will have to carry this team on their backs if we are to see short-term success and arrest the decline.
Injury cut short his maiden series against Pakistan as the Proteas skipper. Against the Windies, he’ll have a chance to get to grips with the captaincy and plot his own path towards the World Cup. Bavuma showed glimpses of proactive captaincy against Pakistan in the ODIs so I am keen to see how he progresses.
Magala and Williams get another chance
The Proteas have Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi to choose from in the fast-bowling department. Bavuma is certainly spoilt for choice. There might be room for one more seamer or at least an injury replacement, that’s why the battle between Lizaad Williams and Sisanda Magala is an intriguing one that we should keep our eyes on. As it stands, Williams is in pole position having performed better against Pakistan, while Magala did not showcase his array of skills as expected. There is still time for both of them to make a late push, that’s if they get a chance.
Pressure on the all-rounders
With the Proteas T20I side still seeking the right balance, the likes of Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius and George Linde must step up and become the match-winners South Africa so desperately need. Phehlukwayo’s form has stuttered recently and the way the Proteas used him against Pakistan was baffling. Pretorius is back from injury while Linde’s value just keeps going up. Not only is their bowling important but the need for late runs at the back end of an innings should be a priority. With Chris Morris out of the equation, one of Phehlukwayo or Pretorius must make a push to become the premier white-ball all-rounder for the Proteas.
Proteas T20I squad vs West Indies
Temba Bavuma (c, Central Gauteng Lions), Quinton de Kock (Northerns), Bjorn Fortuin (Central Gauteng Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Central Gauteng Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Northerns), George Linde (Western Province), Sisanda Magala (Central Gauteng Lions), Janneman Malan (Boland), Aiden Markram (Northerns), David Miller (KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Lungi Ngidi (Northerns), Anrich Nortje (Eastern Province), Andile Phehlukwayo (KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Dwaine Pretorius (North West), Kagiso Rabada (Central Gauteng Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Northerns), Rassie van der Dussen (Central Gauteng Lions), Kyle Verreynne (Western Province), Lizaad Williams (Northerns).