With the IPL now behind us, we can look forward to a bumper summer of cricket in South Africa. The T20 and ODI series against England set to start in the 27th of November CSA have announced a 24 man squad to take on the Poms.
Quinton de Kock (captain, Momentum Multiply Titans), Temba Bavuma (Imperial Lions), Junior Dala (Momentum Multiply Titans), Faf du Plessis (Momentum Multiply Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (Imperial Lions), Beuran Hendricks (Imperial Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Imperial Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), George Linde (Six-Gun Grill Cape Cobras), Keshav (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Janneman Malan (Six-Gun Grill Cape Cobras), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Dwaine Pretorius (Imperial Lions), Kagiso Rabada (Imperial Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Lutho Sipamla (Imperial Lions), Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors), Glenton Stuurman (Warriors), Pite van Biljon (VKB Knights), Rassie van der Dussen (Imperial Lions), Kyle Verreynne (Six-Gun Grill Cape Cobras).
The squad is a strong one. It repays players who have performed domestically and for the Proteas. There are a few omitted players that might feel hard done by, the likes of Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, Reynard van Tonder, Ryan Rickleton and I can continue down a long list of players who can and will play for the Proteas one day. The fact that we can select 24 players and still have left out so many other quality cricketers says a lot about the strength and depth in our cricket, something that has been questioned in recent times.
This squad has some young up and coming talent with Kyle Verreynne, Lutho Sipamla, Janneman Malan, Bjorn Fortuin and George Linde, but for the most part, we made up of experienced franchise players; Guys that have been waiting in the wings for a few years who are eager to impress when the time comes.
This squad is also the last chance for a few on that list Reeza Hendricks, Jon-Jon Smuts, Pite van Biljon and one or two others might feel this is their last opportunity to make a Protea spot their own. Jon-Jon is an interesting case because he can bat in the top order and offers a more than the decent left-arm orthodox spin option. If he could cement a spot in the team, the balance of the side will be easier to find looking ahead to the T20 World Cup next year.
The reason for the big squad is because they probably want to look at combinations. Who plays well together, who understands their roles and who makes the step up when they know opportunities might be limited. You always want the guy in the team that can grasp his opportunities when they come.
Victor Mpitsang has kept his close to his chest with his first selection of players. I suspect he wants to see if keeping faith in players will pay off. Having said that, if this squad fails miserably and with the domestic limited-overs competitions around the corner, there will be options to change things, and we may see some new faces in the squad by the end of the summer.