RYAN VREDE picks a Proteas Test team that can take England at home, and invites you to debate him.
The Proteas Test, T20I and ODI squads to face England were named on Wednesday. They’ll play three-match series in all formats, and face their sternest challenge of the season against a Test side that crushed Test world champions New Zealand.
I wrote this week that, while England have been impressive, their dominance owed more to a fading Black Caps bowling attack than it did to a dramatic turnaround in form.
Prior to the series victory over New Zealand, England lost three consecutive series, and face another series defeat if they fail to beat India in a rescheduled Test that starts on Friday (India currently lead 2-1).
I argued that the Proteas have a superior bowling attack to New Zealand, one capable of exploiting England’s batting lineup, which has considerable deficiencies.
Temba Bavuma’s absence through injury will be a blow. He has been consistently good this season, providing the middle-order stability the Proteas have sought for some time. But there are strong alternatives in the current squad.
VREDE’S PROTEAS TEST XI
Dean Elgar (c)
Easy pick. Comfortably the Proteas’ most consistent batsman. Big temperament, big talent.
Inconsistent but has shown glimpses of his class. Could thrive in English conditions where the ball comes on nicely.
Missed the series against Bangladesh but the find of the summer comes back into the mix. Inconsistent for Durham this season, but started to find his feet before the County Championship paused, which bodes well for the Proteas.
Rassie van der Dussen
Van der Dussen is supremely gifted, but he needs an immense series against elite opposition to make him feel like he isn’t an impostor at this level. Got a feeling in my bones that this is that series.
Brings X factor to the middle order and must be encouraged to play with freedom. He is a game-defining force.
I was a big advocate for this kid when Quinton de Kock retired, but he hasn’t translated his domestic excellent into Test dominance. Yet. He needs a big series or the Proteas should look elsewhere.
Adds variety to the seam attack and depth to the batting. Needs better and more consistent contributions with the bat. Immense potential that, if realised, could significantly amplify the Proteas’ threat.
Takes wickets for fun in England. Absolute no-brainer no matter at which ground they play. More than competent with the bat.
Yeah, I’m sticking with the two-spinner approach. Maharaj’s tactical versatility – he can hold or attack – makes him an indispensable member of the starting team. Like Harmer, really useful with the bat.
England will find him a different proposition to the ageing New Zealand pace attack they’ve dismissed with disdain. If KG is feeing it, he could be the most important factor in the series.
Making his way back from serious injury, and the break between series will help that healing process. Massive for this team, given his ability to take the new ball, for him to come in at first change and bowl multiple, elongated spells without his speed dropping off.