• Five short-lived Proteas Test openers

    Former Proteas opening batsman Gerhardus Liebenberg turned 48 years old on Tuesday, 7 April 2020. Like the players below, Liebenberg’s time at the top of South Africa’s Test batting order was relatively brief.

    Gerhardus Liebenberg: 5 Tests in 1998

    • Liebenberg’s first ball in Test cricket yielded a duck against Sri Lanka in Centurion. He fared better en route to 45 in the second innings. Three months later, he was picked for the tour of England as well and again opened the batting alongside Gary Kirsten. Liebenberg fell cheaply, and often, especially to fast bowler Darren Gough.

    Rudi Steyn: 3 Tests in 1995

    • Kirsten had another opening partner in Rudi Steyn for the three Test matches during the latter half of the 1994-95 season. Steyn compiled several promising starts, including 38 and 46 against New Zealand in Cape Town and Auckland, respectively. He never converted to at least a half-century, though.

    READ: SA’s biggest and best Test partnerships

    Adam Bacher: 19 Tests from 1996-99

    • Bacher’s time in the Test XI started at three in the order. He became an opening batsman after Andrew Hudson’s exit. He perished in the 40s four times and nervy 90s twice. His last 10 innings in Test cricket yielded a mere 99 runs. That spelled the end for the nephew of South African cricket personality Ali Bacher.

    Stephen Cook: 11 Tests from 2016-17

    Stephen Cook
    • Cook arguably debuted too late in Test cricket and was cast to the sidelines too early as well. After scoring a century on debut against England in Centurion, the tall right-hander added two more against Australia and Sri Lanka. Three tons in 19 innings, however, was not a good enough ratio for the selectors to stick with Cook.

    Heino Kuhn: 4 Tests in 2017

    • Shortly after Cook had been discarded and prior to Aiden Markram’s debut, Kuhn was trialled alongside Dean Elgar for the 2017 tour of England. He also collected promising starts, but couldn’t convert them to substantial numbers. A year later, he signed a Kolpak contract with Kent in English county cricket.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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