Fledgling Proteas out to impress in upcoming One Day Internationals

South Africa's Quinton de Kock celebrates reaching fifty runs during the Cricket World Cup quarter-final match against Sri Lanka at the SCG Ant-BangladeshvsSA_subbed.jpg

Following their 3-1 thumping at the hands of England in the Test series, a new-look Proteas side has been hard at work preparing to take on the World Champions, England, in a One Day International series.

South African cricket is currently on a journey of self-discovery and rejuvenation, and the squad that has been selected to clash with England in a three-match One Day International (ODI) series is representative of this transitional phase

It is a young and exciting squad that boasts the cream of the South African domestic set-ups crop. Players like Lutho Sipamla, Bjorn Fortuin, Janneman Malan and Kyle Verreynne have been given a chance to step up to the mantle after some consistent and eye-catching performances on the domestic circuit. 

“We’ve got a very young team that we’ve put on the table, talented, and we are up against the world champions. So, it could be a daunting series for our guys. But we need to see what we’ve got available. So, we’re rewarding some guys that have been very successful in the domestic circuit,” said Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, at a press briefing.

The team will be led by newly appointed South African ODI captain, Quinton de Kock, who himself will be looking to stamp his authority on the team, and give his troops a taste of the type of leadership style they can expect from him. 

“We’re excited to take on a team like England who have had a really good season. It’s a good way of measuring ourselves against the current ODI world champions and the right kind of challenge for everyone from the new guys to the senior players. It’s going to be a good, quick and tough series and I’m looking forward to it,” said De Kock, speaking to CSA.

De Kock has long been punted as a future Proteas captain, and recently showed that he has the ability to lead from the front as he finished as the leading run-scorer, with 380 runs while the Proteas were battered and bruised by the English in the Test series.

South Africans will be hoping he brings that sort of form into the ODI format, but that this time he has enough support around him to make his runs count for something. 

Smith has previously said the CSA will give the wicket-keeper/batsman all the support he needs to ensure that he succeeds as captain.

“I think tactically, on the field, his instinctive play and the way that he thinks about the game, handles bowlers, you know, inside the changeroom – in his safe space – I think is something that he’ll do really well. But how we grow him as a leader, I think, is an aspect that we all need to work on,” remarked Smith.

The team boasts a fully fit squad with the exception of Sisanda Magala. He, along with Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts and Lungi Ngidi, were injury concerns when the squad was announced and had to take part in a high-performance training and conditioning camp to ensure they were fit enough for the series. 

The trio managed to recover in time, but Magala was not so fortunate, missing the final cut, and will take no part in the series. The seamer may get his chance in the T20 series that will follow the ODIs.

The Proteas have also rested Test captain, Faf du Plessis, as well as star bowler, Kagiso Rabada, for the series. 

The latter sat out South Africa’s last match of the Test series against England after being suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for unsporting behaviour.

Smith said he had spoken to Rabada about his regular disciplinary infringements, but added that he was glad that the bowler had been given a rest for this ODI series as the paceman usually carries the bulk of the workload in South Africa’s bowling attack.

“I think too much has been put on his shoulders as well. He’s on every ad, he’s playing every game, he’s carrying the can; if he doesn’t perform well, we’re in trouble. It’s a good thing he’s being rested now in this series and we need to see some other people step up as well and start, you know, filling that void and taking some pressure off him,” commented Smith.

The first match of the series takes place on Tuesday, 4 February 2020 at Newlands Cricket Ground, with the next one at Kingsmead on 7 February. The last of the three matches will be played at Wanderers on 9 February. 

Full Squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Jon Jon Smuts, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lutho Sipamla, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Janneman Malan, Kyle Verreynne. DM