With squad announcements taking place on Wednesday, we take a look at the top five players to watch in the ODI series between South Africa and England.
1. Kagiso Rabada
The 21-year-old has proven to be one of South Africa’s biggest assets and has been in great form for the Proteas. In his last nine ODIs, he managed to take 14 wickets at an average of 25.85. He has spearheaded the Proteas’ bowling attack in the absence of Dale Steyn and will look to dominate in his first ODI series in England. He has nine wickets in four matches against the hosts and after being benched for the beginning of IPL 2017, Rabada will be rested, riled up and ready to play.
2. Jason Roy
One of England’s most promising youngsters, Roy has developed into one of his country’s most explosive batsmen. The 26-year-old opener displayed his potential in early-2015, scoring 201 runs (two half-centuries) at an average of 40.20 against Australia. His last 15 matches saw him rack up 733 runs @ 48.86, including one century and six half-centuries. South Africa have been his least favourite opponents, however, as he holds his lowest average of 19.20 against them in a five-match series played in SA. The fact that he will face the Proteas at home will give him more confidence, as he boasts a 44.22 average in 20 matches in England.
3. Imran Tahir
The deadly spinner has been in magnificent form, claiming the No 1 spot in ICC T20 and ODI rankings. His last 15 matches saw him take 22 wickets and he has carried that form into the 2017 IPL season, a tournament he almost did not feature in after going unsold. Momentum is key for the 38-year-old, as he looks to dominate on shores he has never played ODIs before. He will, however, have the advantage of drawing from his County cricket experience which has seen him play stints for Middlesex, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
4. Ben Stokes
England’s aggressive all-rounder made headlines when he became the most expensive foreign player in IPL history and has built up some good rhythm with the bat and ball in the T20 competition this season. He is currently ranked seventh on the ICC ODI rankings all-rounder’s list, having played 53 matches, scoring 1 244 runs and taking 46 wickets. He will have a point to prove against the No 1 ODI side, who he has only managed four wickets and 141 runs against during their five-match ODI series in South Africa in 2016.
5. JP Duminy
Duminy is one of the few players not to have played any cricket since the conclusion of the New Zealand ODI series a few months ago. The 33-year-old batting all-rounder has been under heavy scrutiny and has struggled to find consistency. With a high score of 34 in his last 10 games, Duminy will need to prove his worth in the series against England if he wants to remain in the squad for the ICC Champions Trophy.
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