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Fresh-faced Proteas prepare for West Indies white-ball onslaught

Fresh-faced Proteas prepare for West Indies white-ball onslaught
Temba Bavuma of the Proteas during the ICC CWCSL, 2nd Betway ODI match between South Africa and England at Mangaung Oval on 29 January 2023 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo: Lee Warren / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

There are several potential debutants in South Africa’s One Day Squad to take on the West Indies on Thursday.

South Africa take on West Indies in a three-match One Day International (ODI) series in East London and Potchefstroom. The team will be hungry to build on the momentum of the recent Test series triumph against the same side.  

While this series won’t count towards qualifying for the Cricket World Cup later this year, the three matches are important in building depth within the white-ball squads and laying the foundations for the brand of cricket new white-ball coach Rob Walter wants to implement. 

“It is a fresh start for the ODI team. It’s the first time the guys are interacting with Rob [Walter] face-to-face,” said skipper Temba Bavuma to the media on Wednesday. 

Test coach Shukri Conrad stood in as interim coach of the ODI side for the recent 2-1 series win over England in February. 

“The chats have been a continuation of the chats we had during the ODI series [against England]. As much as coach Rob wasn’t there, he was interacting and was actively involved with the guys,” Bavuma said. 

“For us, it’s a matter of continuing with the same language. Using this opportunity against the West Indies to refine our way of playing and to keep growing from that point of view.” 


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New faces 

There are potential debuts for several players that have been added to the ODI team for the first time. Among them are recent Test match debutants Gerald Coetzee and Tony de Zorzi. Ryan Rickelton — who made his name as a red-ball player but finished the domestic One Day Cup as the highest run-getter this past season — is also in the hunt. 

T20 cricket starlet Tristan Stubbs has also received his maiden international 50-over call-up. 

“The guys have been added to the squad and have been part of our plans for the ODIs that took place before the Test series,” Bavuma said. 

“It’s great that they’ve done well before the Test series, so it’s going to be important for them to carry on with the confidence and form gained from the Test series.” 

“You can expect a couple of new faces and debutants because we’d like to see how well they can fit in for our plans going forward.” 

The Proteas are on the cusp of qualifying for the 50-over World Cup in India this year. They need a series win over the Netherlands — who tour South African shores after the West Indies white-ball series. 

“You want to keep a good thing going and with that said, we can’t ignore the fact that it’s a big year from a 50-over perspective,” Bavuma said. 

“We want to widen the pool and give guys an opportunity, and even with the new guys coming in, it’s not a factor of us compromising our desire to win the series. 

“We still want to win the series, but it’s even better when you have the new faces come in under pressure and uncertainty, and put in the winning performances. 

“There are guys who weren’t involved in the Test team, and they come with a lot of hunger and they’d also like to be among the star performers,” the skipper added. 

Aiden Markram of South Arica during the ICC CWCSL, 3rd Betway ODI match between South Africa and England at Diamond Oval on 1 February 2023 in Kimberley, South Africa. (Photo: Charle Lombard / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Conditions 

The first two matches of the series take place at Buffalo Park in East London, a stadium the Proteas play very few matches at. 

“We’ve tried to speak to as many people as we can. We’ve spoken to the local coaches and players here and they’ve expressed the same sentiment: that the wicket is generally on the slower side,” Bavuma added. 

“This wicket, in particular, looks like it’s going to play that way. Whether it turns or not, it’s a bit hard to say.” 

The Proteas called up left-arm tweaker Tabraiz Shamsi into the squad after Keshav Maharaj ruptured his Achilles tendon in the second Test match against the Windies. 

Bjorn Fortuin is also in the squad to supplement the spin attack. Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks and Stubbs also bowl occasional off-breaks. South Africa’s spin attack is therefore fully stacked for the potential rank-turner Buffalo Park might dish up. 

Injury and illness have befallen the South African side in recent days.  

Marco Jansen, originally only selected for the final ODI, has been called into the team for the first two matches after Wayne Parnell fell ill, Sisanda Magala split the webbing on one of his fingers and Andile Phehlukwayo suffered back spasms this week.  

The first ball of the ODI series between South Africa and West Indies will be bowled on Thursday at 1pm at Buffalo Park. DM 

Proteas 1st and 2nd ODIs squad against West Indies: 

Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Gerald Coetzee (Knights), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Tony de Zorzi (Western Province), Bjorn Fortuin (Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), Sisanda Magala (Lions), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Ryan Rickelton (Lions), Wayne Parnell (Western Province), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Tristan Stubbs (Warriors), Lizaad Williams (Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions).

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