There is some excitement in the air in the Proteas camp, with the news that six debut caps could be handed out across three formats when they take on Bangladesh throughout July and early August, writes TOM SIZELAND.
The two-match T20 series could see a debut handed to Highveld Lions spinner Eddie Leie, the three-match ODI leg could see Kagiso Rabada play 50-over cricket for the first time, while four uncapped players have been named in the two-match Test series.
Alviro Peterson’s Test retirement has opened up a spot at the top of the order alongside Dean Elgar and Knights star Reeza Hendricks could be that man, as the 25-year-old was called up for the first time. His first-class average doesn’t flatter him (34.44), but he is an ever-improving player who has enjoyed five international caps in the shortest format, and stood out in the Momentum One Day Cup with a dazzling 181 from 135 balls against the Dolphins back in October.
There is also a case for Stiaan van Zyl, however, who has revealed in the past that he would be happy to open the batting despite lacking experience in that position. He might be preferred down the order though, after scoring a ton on debut against West Indies at No 6.
AB de Villiers will miss the Test series due to paternity leave, which has opened up a spot in the middle-order. JP Duminy is expected to return to the fold after missing the Windies series through injury, which could leave Van Zyl and Temba Bavuma to slug it out for a spot in the lineup.
Quinton de Kock will take the gloves, and due to De Villiers’ absence, Dane Vilas has been called up as cover. He’s been recognized for his solid form for the Cape Cobras over an extended period of time, and will get another opportunity to be a part of the set-up after playing in one rain-affected T20 against India three years ago.
In the bowling department, meanwhile, Dale Steyn who admitted himself that he wasn’t going to strain himself in the shorter formats, will likely lead the lethal pace trio with Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander in the Tests. Kagiso Rabada will have other ideas, however, after earning another call-up to the Test squad, and will jump at the opportunity to earn a first cap. This will probably depend on whether one of the trio will be rested for one of the matches.
Perhaps surprisingly, there’s no space for Dane Piedt. The off-spinner who got the Man of the Match award in his only Test to date against Zimbabwe last year injured himself leading up to the series against Windies and hasn’t featured since. There’s no room for Imran Tahir either, which could well spell the end of the 36-year-old’s career in white clothing for the Proteas. Aaron Phangiso, who controversially didn’t play a single match in the World Cup, is in line to make his debut, while Simon Harmer – who has played club cricket in Lancashire recently – also got the nod.
The ODI side has a familiar feel to it. Steyn and Philander are the only absentees from the World Cup squad, while the selectors have made clear intentions to bolster their all-rounder options with the inclusions of Ryan McLaren and Chris Morris. Rabada, who could make his debut in this format as well, is the other addition to the 16-man squad.
Eddie Leie has been rewarded for some fine form in last season’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge by being included in the T20 squad. He picked up 14 wickets and achieved an economy rate of below six runs an over throughout the tournament. He will be seen as a good opportunity to explore options in the sub-continent ahead of the World T20 next year. Beuran Hendricks is a welcome return to the set-up and could play for the first time in well over a year, following some game time with the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
The first T20 gets underway July 5, and the tour culminates with the second Test which starts July 21.
Proteas Test squad: Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, capt), Dean Elgar (Titans), Reeza Hendricks (Knights), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Stiaan van Zyl (Cape Cobras), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Morne Morkel (Titans), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Simon Harmer (Warriors), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Dane Vilas (Cape Cobras).
ODI squad: AB de Villiers (Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, vice-capt), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), David Miller (Dolphins), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), Chris Morris (Titans), Morne Morkel (Titans), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Wayne Parnell (Cape Cobras), Ryan McLaren (Dolphins).
T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (Titans, capt), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), AB de Villiers (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), David Miller (Dolphins), David Wiese (Titans), Chris Morris (Titans), Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Eddie Leie (Highveld Lions), Wayne Parnell (Cape Cobras), Beuran Hendricks (Cape Cobras).