Proteas coach Ottis Gibson must use T20 international cricket to give playing opportunities to South Africa’s promising youngsters.
Bangladesh were outclassed by the Proteas on their tour to South Africa, losing the Test series 2-0, the ODI series 3-0 and the T20I series 2-0.
The hosts were ruthless, while the coach gave certain youngsters the chance to prove themselves. Aiden Markram and Andile Phehlukwayo received their Test debuts, and in the final ODI, 19-year-old Wiaan Mulder debuted along with Markram. Why stop there, though?
The T20I series would have been the perfect opportunity for Gibson to see how the Proteas’ next generation fared on the international stage. Instead, he and the selectors opted for experience in a form of the game that is more about entertainment than results.
There are plenty of youngsters who are performing at a much higher level than the players who were selected in the T20I squad, but caps are continuously being wasted on those who have no future in the green and gold.
Robbie Frylinck, Beuron Hendricks, Dane Paterson, Mangaliso Mosehle and Aaron Phangiso were all mediocre. Why not take a risk with those who could benefit from playing alongside the likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis?
Beuron Hendricks (27) could have been replaced by 19-year-old left-arm seamer Michael Cohen, who took five wickets against Bangladesh in the four-day warm-up match.
Dane Paterson (28) should have been replaced by Lungi Ngidi, the 21-year-old Titans superstar, who should walk into the ODI side, never mind a makeshift T20 team.
Bjorn Fortuin, a 23-year-old spinning-all-rounder, should have taken the spot of Phangiso (33), who is never going to replace Imran Tahir. Fortuin has 11 wickets and 120 runs in three matches for the Lions in the Sunfoil Series.
Mulder (19) should have received his T20I debut after winning his first ODI cap; why did Frylinck, a 33-year-old, receive his debut if he’s not in our long-term plans?
Wicketkeeper-opener Matthew Breetzke (18) should have been given a shot instead of Mosehle. The youngster proved in the one-day warm-up match against Bangladesh that he has the potential to be Quinton de Kock’s successor.
And Markram (22) should have replaced the injured Faf du Plessis as skipper, instead of JP Duminy, whose time is up in the national side.
If we are not ready to replace the deadwood in the ODI squad, then at least give opportunities to those who have the talent to be South Africa’s next XI, in T20I cricket.
My ideal Proteas T20I line-up: 1. Quinton de Kock, 2. Hashim Amla, 3. Faf du Plessis (c), 4. Aiden Markram, 5. AB de Villiers, 6. David Miller 7. Wiaan Mulder 8. Andile Phehlukwayo, 9. Lungi Ngidi, 10. Bjorn Fortuin, 11. Michael Cohen, 12. Matthew Breetzke.
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