Following Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) decision to opt for youth in its squad to play Sri Lanka in the T20 International Series, provides an opportunity to some of the countries deserving domestic performers.
The 13-man squad includes new caps; Jon-Jon Smuts, Theunis de Bruyn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson and Lungi Ngidi.
Newsbeat journalist, Reece Labuschagne, provides insight on the new caps, and what the South African public can expect to see.
The twenty-eight-year-olds inclusion comes after a standout season for his Warriors franchise, captaining his side to the final of the T20 Challenge.
The opening batsmen led from the front, topping the run-scoring charts with 371 runs, with a high score of 107 not out, the second highest score in the tournament. His strike-rate of 144.35 and 21 sixes in the tournament further demonstrates what a destructive batsman he is at the top of the order.
Despite his batting prowess, he is more than adequate with the ball, the left-arm orthodox bowler taking nine wickets at a very economical rate of just 6.17.
Smuts also brings representative experience having been part of the South African under-19 team at the 2007 World Cup, and more recently, turning out performances for the South Africa ‘A’ team.
Smuts’ all-round ability and leadership experience will provide more than useful for first-time Protea’s Captain, Farhaan Berhadian.
Theunis de Bruyn:
After being named in the Protea’s Test squad against Sri Lanka last month, the twenty-four old now has the opportunity to make his debut in the shorter format of the game.
Despite only playing five T20 Challenge matches due to his test selection, he managed to register 195 runs, at an average of 48.75, hitting two fifties in the process.
The man nicknamed ‘Tribbes’ moved to the Knights from the Titans and was announced captain immediately. He has been a consistent player for the franchise in all formats of the game, and provides excellent stroke-playing ability from anywhere in the top order.
De Bruyn is also a handy seam bowler, providing another option for Berhadian to turn to should they need him.
Like Smuts, de Bruyn, has previous representative experience, having played for both the South African under-19 team at the 2012 World Cup, alongside fellow Protea, Quinton de Kock, as well as the South African ‘A’ side.
De Bruyn’s stability at the top of the order, as well as his part–time seam bowling, and leadership quality, will prove useful to what is a very inexperienced Protea’s team.
Following consistent performances with both bat and gloves, Mosehle will presumably be given the wicket-keeping duties for the first two T20 matches.
The twenty-six-year-olds call-up to the side comes after a very successful season with the Lions, scoring 277 runs at strike-rate of 140. The specialist wicket-keeper has shown tremendous consistency and ability with the bat, solidifying his position at the top of the order for his franchise.
The Duduza native has always been regarded as one of the country’s greatest gloveman, but it’s his batting which has apparently caught the eye of the selectors. After moving from the Titans last season, Mosehle has shown why he was so highly thought of as a youngster.
The former South African under-19 player has steadily risen through the ranks, after being included in previous South African Invitational and South African ‘A’ sides.
Mosehle’s experience and relationship with fellow Lions teammate, and spin bowler, Aaron Phangiso, will also be valuable, should the Lions Captain be included in the match day eleven.
The wicket-keeper batsman will prove to be a handy player both down the order and with the gloves.
Phelukwayo is no newcomer to the International scene, after starring in what was just his fourth ODI appearance, scoring a breath-taking 42 not out against Australia.
Phelukwayo’s short, but match winning innings, ensured South Africa chased down Australia’s target of 372 and clinch the series.
The bowling all-rounder has the ability to win the game with both bat and ball, and despite only being twenty years old, has over 50 matches of limited over’s cricket under his belt.
He was the Dolphins leading wicket-taker in last season’s edition of the T20 Challenge competition, taking 12 wickets at an average of just 21, leading them to the final.
Despite his rapid rise to the International scene, the Kwa-Zulu Natal native has shown great poise and determination to succeed.
His experience at International cricket, wicket taking ability and destructive hitting down the order will be a great asset to this young, Protea’s side.
The twenty-seven-year-olds inclusion has come as a surprise, as by his own standards, did not have a particularly impressive season.
The fast bowler took a pedestrian six wickets in nine matches for his Cobra’s side in this seasons edition of the T20 Challenge, putting him only third in his own team.
However, it is his ability and previous performances that have earned him his maiden call-up to the Protea’s side. His average of 23.45 and economy rate of just 6.99 in T20 cricket reads extremely well and will be a nice compliment to the other fast bowlers selected.
The former Dolphins player, but Cape Town native, has been a consistent performer in all forms of the game, and has been unlucky due to South Africa’s endless pit of fast bowlers, not to have been selected before.
Entering what should be his prime, and having been part of both previous South Africa Academy and ‘A’ sides, it seems appropriate he be given the chance to see if he has what it takes to succeed on the international level.
The young fast bowler’s inclusion comes after an impressive season for his Titans franchise, where he helped his team to win another T20 Challenge title.
The twenty-year-olds rise to fame has been nothing short of spectacular and has been likened to that of current Protea’s superstar Kagiso Rabada, by former South African wicket-keeper and current Titans coach, Mark Boucher.
“Lungi Ngidi is a great kid. He is very open-minded. He has height, pace, skill and a great attitude. He has all the attributes to be one of the stars of the future of South Africa,” said Boucher.
While Ngidi reads well statistically speaking, taking 9 wickets this season and impressing in the final with figures of 2/27 at a economical rate of just 6.75. It is his raw ability and physical attributes that makes him such an intriguing prospect.
Ngidi’s intangibles and hype will make for an intriguing T20 debut. It could be the first glimpse for South African fans of a future superstar wearing the Protea’s badge.