The Proteas blooded several new players in one series – or a single Test, ODI or T20I – during the 2019-20 season. Here’s hoping the following five new recruits get more game time for the Proteas later this year.
Pite van Biljon
- The Knights batsman was part of the Jozi Stars’ title-winning campaign in the 2018 Mzansi Super League. He then moved to the Tshwane Spartans and played in another MSL final in 2019. He eventually cracked the nod for the Proteas’ T20I series against Australia. One wonders if the 33-year-old will get another go-ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year.
- The Cape Cobras seamer collected a dozen limited-overs appearances for the Proteas before graduating to the Test XI. His debut at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth against England didn’t really generate the reverse swing anticipated, but was enough to get rid of first-innings centurion Ben Stokes. Paterson then made Joe Denly his bunny at the Wanderers. There might still be space for Paterson in the Test XI going forward.
- Fans and pundits campaigned for the addition of the Cape Cobras opening batsman to the Test XI for a prolonged period. Calls were eventually heeded when Malan replaced the injured Aiden Markram at the top of the order during the series against England. He was charactertistcally stoic in trying to force a draw on debut at Newlands, but didn’t manage much more thereafter. Malan has not been afforded a national contract, but might be able to keep his place in the XI despite Markram’s return from injury.
- The Dolphins all-rounder toured India in a Test squad featuring three specialist spinners. The other two were the Cape Cobras’ Dane Piedt and Dolphins’ Keshav Maharaj. Muthusamy batted as low as eight in the order and bowled significantly fewer overs than Piedt and Maharaj. ‘Batting in that No 7 or 8 position is always something we are looking for as a team. Obviously he bowls a bit as well, so that helps,’ said captain Faf du Plessis at the time. Muthusamy arguably batted too low and didn’t bowl enough in India. Perhaps, in the future, he’ll get the chance to show there is more to him than expected by Du Plessis.
- The Dolphins fast bowler was roped into the Proteas squad for the third and final ODI against Australia amid the absence of the rested Lungi Ngidi, injured Kagiso Rabada and ill Beuran Hendricks. He duly debuted, snaring the key wicket of opposition captain Aaron Finch. His raw pace is an attractive option in a Proteas bowling attack that can be accused of being samey. He could be a wild-card option for the T20 World Cup, too.
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