The build-up to the 2023 World Cup is underway for the Proteas as they seek to find the right men to take them to their first-ever World Cup trophy. The fresh faces in the Proteas ODI squad symbolize a new era in South African cricket and also shows the plans Mark Boucher has for the future as he and his management team build a brand of cricket that will win us the World Cup in 2023.
The objective for the Head coach, Mark Boucher, is clear and has been clear since he got appointed in December 2019, that objective is to win the 2023 World Cup as his contract will end right after the World Cup. Boucher hasn’t had a great start to his international coaching career, more so in ODI cricket, the Proteas currently sit ninth in the World Cup Super League points table after losing five ODI matches and winning only three matches in the process.
For a nation with the reputation of South Africa, the ninth position is poor, to say the least, and shows how Boucher hasn’t yet found an XI that he can be confident in to win him big matches. The young squad that the selectors have picked for the Netherlands series makes it an exciting series as we will get a chance to see how our top domestic players will perform at the international stage, but most importantly, we will get a chance to see who will put their hand up for future selection in the Proteas ODI team.
Ongama Gcwabe picks Five Players To Watch in the series:
The 30-year-old all-rounder has been a top performer across all three formats in South Africa’s domestic cricket for many seasons now. More so this season, he is fit and is bowling as quick as I have seen him bowl in his career. Looking at the many reasons thrown at him not to play for South Africa in recent years, Magala has been patient and kept the hope of representing his country one day. His move from Warriors to the Lions seems to have ignited the spark inside of him to work even harder. Magala has an impressive bowling average of 29 in List A cricket having played over 100 matches.
Magala has the skills, big match temperament and has done the hard yards in Cricket South Africa’s structures and deserves this call up. I predict he will have a memorable debut ODI series.
Janneman Malan has had an impressive start to his ODI career having managed three centuries and two fifties in just nine innings. The 25-year-old top-order batter has an astonishing batting average of 97 in his 10 ODI matches so far with a top score of 177 runs. His conversion rate is unmatched, in both international and domestic cricket, across all formats. At the top of the order, Malan will be key to South Africa setting a solid foundation for our middle order batters to come in and play freely.
Stylish, powerful, young and exciting are my four words to best describe Ryan Rickelton as a cricketer. At 25, Rickelton is in a form of his life. This season he has two centuries already in just three first-class matches. The wicket-keeper batter has played 51 List A games and has an average of 48 which is amazing considering how difficult it is to bat at the top of the order in South Africa. Rickelton has four List A career centuries and eleven fifties. Alongside Janneman Malan, they have the potential to take apart any bowling attack in the world with their Righthand-Lefthand opening partnership.
The Western Province Blitz skipper has evolved his cricket over the past couple of seasons to suit white-ball cricket as he was considered as more of a longer format player. Having been dropped from the Test team since the England Test series in January 2020, Hamza will know how it feels to earn a spot in the national side and lose it, thus will do all in his power not to allow the same thing to happen this time around. In his 54 List A matches, he has scored over 1700 runs at an average of 38 with two centuries in his name. Coming in at three, Hamza will hold the batting line-up together as an anchor making him a critical part of the batting order.
Kyle Verreynne started his ODI career against a formidable Australia side which included the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, but the 24-year-old wicket-keeper batter showed his class during that three-match ODI series with 48 runs on debut and a half-century in the third match. Since then, Verreynne has played just five ODI matches as Heinrich Klaasen got the nod ahead of him in recent ODI series. Verreynne has two half-centuries in his young ODI career and will be looking to do more in this Netherlands series if afforded an opportunity to play. If he plays, I predict he will have a great series with both the bat and behind the stumps as the keeper in the absence of Quinton de Kock who is rested for the series.
Proteas ODI Squad:
Keshav Maharaj (captain), Daryn Dupavillon, Zubayr Hamza, Reeza Hendricks, Sisanda Magala, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wayne Parnell, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo.
The three-match ODI series will be staged in Centurion and Johannesburg starting on Friday until Wednesday 1st December.