Tristan Stubbs’s domestic dominance rewarded with Proteas call-up
Talented, hard-hitting Tristan Stubbs has been included in a balanced Proteas T20I squad for a series in India next month.
Tristan Stubbs (21) has been rewarded for his superb domestic form with a first call-up to the Proteas squad. Fast bowler Anrich Nortje also makes an international return after nearly six months on the sidelines now that he has overcome a nagging hip injury.
Stubbs impressed this past season while playing for the Warriors in the Cricket South Africa (CSA) T20 Challenge. He scored 293 runs in seven innings, at an average of 48.83 and a strike rate of 183.12, including 23 sixes. It was the second-most runs in the competition. He also bludgeoned 80 off 31 balls against the Dolphins in one match.
He was also part of the South Africa “A” team to Zimbabwe this month before he was called up to the Mumbai Indians camp for the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL).
Against Zimbabwe Stubbs batted twice, scoring 56 runs without being dismissed and with a strike rate of 121.73.
While Stubbs’s call-up was fully deserved, there was no room for Pieter Malan, who top-scored in the domestic T20 Cup with 368 runs at 46 and at a strike rate of 118.70.
Another less-surprising but notable omission was wunderkind Dewald Brevis. The recent star of the Under-19 World Cup has made a quiet start to his IPL career with the Mumbai Indians. In six innings he has scored 124 at 20.67, but done at an impressive strike rate of 155.
Nortje has been in India during the latter stages of the IPL where he has continued his rehab at the Delhi Capitals. It has been a frustrating time for the big quick, who last played competitively for the Proteas at the T20I World Cup last November, but he has managed five IPL matches so far.
There are also recalls for batters Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen, who both forced their way into contention through sheer weight of runs.
Hendricks scored 199 runs at 28.42 and a strike rate of 122.83 in the domestic T20 competition. He also dominated the four-match series against Zimbabwe this month with 194 runs at 64.66 and a mammoth strike rate of 188.34.
Klaasen was also in good form domestically, where his 253 runs came at 50.60 and a strike rate of 119.33.
Spinner Keshav Maharaj and No 1 men’s T20I bowler Tabraiz Shamsi will play pivotal roles while the rest of the squad is made up of the IPL contingent.
Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen and Marco Jansen are all included to underline the strength of the team.
De Kock is currently South Africa’s leading batter in the IPL. He has scored 362 runs in 13 innings while Markram has returned to form after a torrid domestic summer.
At the IPL, Markram has notched up 358 runs at an average of 59.67 and an impressive strike rate of 141.50. Carrying that form into the international arena is vital for the Proteas.
Middle-order batter David Miller has also shone at the IPL, with 347 runs at 57.83 and a strike rate of more than 136.
In the bowling department, Rabada has taken 22 IPL wickets in 12 matches, which puts him third on the standings. But he is the only South African bowler in the top 40 at the moment, with left-arm seamer Jansen having taken seven wickets in eight IPL matches.
But with a crop of batters in form, the consistent excellence of Rabada, Shamsi’s status as the world’s best T20 bowler and Nortje’s return, convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang was optimistic.
“This is the Proteas like we have not seen them in a long time,” Mpitsang said. “The injection of the IPL players means that we will have a team that’s ready to fire on all cylinders immediately and has vast experience of the conditions that we will be playing in.
“Tristan Stubbs is an exciting prospect and we’re keen to see what he’s made of, and we are looking forward to the return of the experience of Reeza (Hendricks), Klaasie (Heinrich Klaasen) and Wayne Parnell to join the likes of Temba (Bavuma), Tabraiz (Shamsi) and Keshav (Maharaj).
“The country can also join us in a collective sigh of relief at the return of Anrich Nortje, who has been working hard to recover from a frustrating injury. The National Selection Panel and I are really excited to watch our full-strength Proteas take on the world’s No 1 T20 team.”
South Africa is currently fourth in the ICC Men’s T20I team rankings, behind Pakistan (3), England (2) and India (1).
Squad: Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen. DM
India T20I series vs South Africa itinerary:
9 June: First T20I, Delhi;
12 June: Second T20I, Cuttack;
14 June: Third T20I, Vizag;
17 June: Fourth T20I, Rajkot;
19 June: Fifth T20I, Bengaluru.