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14 August 2019, by: Carl Lewis


Cricket South Africa (CSA) named three new caps in their Test squad for the October Test series in India.

Warriors fast bowler Anrich Nortje, Knights keeper/batsman Rudi Second and Dolphins spin bowling all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy are the newbies.

Meanwhile, there was a recall after three years away from the proteas camp for Cobras off-spinner Dane Piedt while Temba Bavuma will be the vice-captain under Faf du Plessis.

This is the Proteas first bit of cricket after their disastrous World Cup campaign. We take a look at the biggest talking points of the announcement.

A deserved recall to the national team for the off-spinner after a phenomenal season. Captaining the Cape Cobras, Piedt prospered in his leadership role taking a competition high 54 wickets in 4-Day Franchise season. No surprise Piedt was named 4-day Franchise Series Cricketer of the Year and also picked up the SACA Most Valuable Player award.

The 54 wickets was a whole 20 more than his closest rival in second place, that’s how good he was. While his bowling exploits earned him the recall, the former SACS old boy also had time to notch up his maiden First-Class century last season as well.

It’s easy to forget Piedt has played seven Test matches taking 24 wickets including a 5-wicket haul. Unfortunately for him, injury struck at exactly the wrong time in his career and he was displaced by incumbent spinner Keshav Maharaj. Piedt made his debut in 2014, since then he has developed as a leader and is the heart and soul of the Cobras side.

There is no doubt he will be relishing another chance to bowl in the sub-continent and represent his country. Watch out for his variety, Piedt is an understated student of the game.

With a few retirements of very experienced Proteas, Temba Bavuma has been promoted to vice-captain of the Proteas Test side after showing his leadership abilities for the Highveld Lions under the tutelage of Enoch Nkwe. He is now a verified member of the Proteas ‘brains trust’.

This is a huge vote of confidence for the right-hander who has the knack of shining when the chips are down. His Test average of 33 is underwhelming but his international career has been about scoring important 50’s (he has 13 career 50’s).

It’s clear Bavuma is now a settled and valued member of the Proteas Test squad and his new leadership role is indicative of his current standing and the possible captaincy once Faf du Plessis moves on.

At this point, his main role as vice-captain will be about taking his personal game to the next level, converting those 50’s into tons and pushing his average closer to 40.

Second has to be one of the unluckiest South African cricketers in recent years. As a wicketkeeper, he had to compete with AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock despite putting up numbers worthy of inclusion. He’s scored 17 centuries and 33 fifties in his career since his debut in 2011.

He finally got his call up, a much-deserved one, after ridiculously solid stats in domestic cricket as well as a very good showing for SA ‘A’ on their tour of India last year.

Second has piled up the runs in recent years: 684 runs in 14 innings at 52.61 in 2016/17, followed by 803 in 14 innings at 80.30 in 2017/18. The second was one of the three players to have scored a double-hundred in the 2017-18 edition.

In the latest domestic season, he scored 421 runs at an average of 42.10, a fair return considering his career average is 45.05 after 105 First-Class matches.

There is a Hashim Amla sized gaping hole in the Proteas top/middle order. There’ll be pressure on this talented pair (de Bruyn & Hamza) to quickly fill that hole and verify their unquestionable talent. There might only be space for one of them in the current Test set up after Amla’s retirement, although both could be shoehorned into an XI under Enoch Nkwe. On the face of it, both players give the batting unit a sense of solidity but they’ll need reality to back up that perception.

de Bruyn has nine Test matches under his belt now although he has batted in a variety of positions and has never been given an extended run, that time is surely now. His humble Test average of 20.35 must frustrate him although his maiden Test ton against Sri Lanka would have helped with his feeling of belonging at Test level.

For Hamza, Amla’s retirement could be seen as his opportunity to stake his claim as an international batsman. He made a respectable debut against Pakistan this year scoring 41 in the first innings. The tour of India is a tough one but Hamza has the SA ‘A’ tour as a reference point where he shone as one of the teams best batsman scoring 94 in one match.

Nortje’s burgeoning international career has been plagued by untimely injuries headlined by the one which ruled him out of the World Cup. Ever since thrusting himself into the South African spotlight in December, Nortje’s raw pace has got many fans tongues wagging at the prospect of his 150km/h deliveries alongside the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.

He might be the Proteas’ secret weapon on the Indian tour having only played international cricket against Sri Lanka. However, a tour of India is a baptism of fire for any fast bowler. His searing pace, if coupled with reverse swing, could be a vital tool for the Proteas captain in foreign conditions.

The selection of Muthusamy would have surprised some, the 25-year-old Dolphins all-rounder has a modest First-Class record but his ability with bat and ball provides the selectors with a variety of options in challenging sub-continent conditions. The options relate specifically to the balance of the XI – he is a bowling option but also gives extends the batting line-up, which is important especially if the Indian spinners get their tails up.

The left-handed all-rounder made his First-Class in 2013, his batting average is a decent 33.41 (includes 7 x 100’s and 18 x 50’s) while his bowling has seen him take 128 wickets in 67 matches averaging 27.68.

His enjoyed an adequate 2018/19 First-Class season averaging only 23.83 with the bat but he took 21 wickets with his left-arm orthodox. Because of his ability with the bat and the expected spin-friendly conditions, Muthusamy could well make his Proteas debut on tour.

Faf du Plessis (Titans, capt), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions, vice-capt), Theunis de Bruyn (Titans), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Zubayr Hamza (Cape Cobras), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Senuran Muthusamy (Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Rudi Second (Warriors)

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