Cricket South Africa (CSA) has announced a 15-man squad for the Proteas’ Test series against the West Indies. The series begins on the 28th of January at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Unlike the ODI squad for the England ODI series, there were several changes made to the squad, including the appointment of Temba Bavuma as the new Test Captain.
We look at some of the talking points from the squad announcement.
Temba Bavuma Appointed As Test Captain
CSA announced the appointment of Temba Bavuma as the new Test captain, replacing Dean Elgar who remains in the squad. Bavuma remains the ODI skipper but has relinquished those duties in T20Is.
A lot of people have been calling for Bavuma to lead the Test side following his form in the format over the past few years and the leadership skills he’s shown as ODI and T20I captain of the side. I believe he is the right man for the job as South Africa begins a new era under Shukri Conrad as head coach of the Test side.
Verreynne & Ngidi Dropped
A lot of eyebrows were raised when Kyle Verreynne and Lungi Ngidi were dropped from the squad. Both players are fit for selection, with Verreynne’s omission the more surprising considering the fact that he was arguably our best batter in the series against Australia.
This shows that new Proteas coach Shukri Conrad is not going to shy away from making bold decisions.
Domestic Form Rewarded
The 15-man squad includes the in-form duo of Toni de Zorzi and Ryan Rickelton. Both de Zorzi and Rickelton have been in outstanding form in domestic cricket with the former scoring 489 runs at an average of 122.5 in the 4-Day Series while Rickelton averages 120 in 3 matches.
It’s good to see domestic form being rewarded as I felt that both could’ve also been called up to the ODI squad to face England earlier this month.
Other new faces in the squad since the Australia series include; Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Senuran Muthusamy and Keegan Petersen.
Was It The Correct Decision To Recall Markram?
As a Proteas and Aiden Markram fan, I would’ve loved for him to play a season or two of franchise cricket before being recalled to the Test squad. This would’ve helped his confidence in red-ball cricket and given him an opportunity to work on a number of technical issues before being recalled to the Test side.
Markram, who has an average of 24.60 in his last 23 Tests, was preferred over Sarel Erwee, and Proteas coach Conrad indicated he would get a long run in the Test team.
Victor Mpitsang Released
As part of the restructuring, the DoC Enoch Nkwe also confirmed that CSA was currently reviewing the National Selection Committee procedures, and had decided to release Victor Mpitsang from his role as National Convenor of Selectors.
I see this as a positive decision considering the poor time Mpitsang had in the role. Another positive is the coach playing a huge role in the selection of the squad.
Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Gerald Coetzee (Knights), Tony de Zorzi (Western Province), Dean Elgar (Titans), Simon Harmer (Titans), Marco Jansen (Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Senuran Muthusamy (Dragons), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Keegan Petersen (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Ryan Rickelton (Lions).