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Proteas embark on a fresh journey with overhauled CSA and new-look squad

Proteas embark on a fresh journey with overhauled CSA and new-look squad

With a series of appointments of well-respected former cricketers in the management, an overhaul of the Cricket Association and blooding in new talent in the Test team, South Africa are all set to turn the tide.

Kevin Pietersen possibly in jest had suggested a line-up for South Africa to come out of the rut which has proved almost prophetic.

Many of his suggestions have been coincidentally implemented and Proteas will now take on England in a new avatar.

Was KP really joking or did he mean business? Well, you can never really tell when it comes to him! Regardless, this is completely a new dawn for South African cricket, following all the reports of doom and gloom in the last few months.


A new management in place

Graeme Smith, after several rounds of deliberation, finally decided to take on the role of the acting director of Cricket South Africa albeit for only three months, as of now. After his inclusion and Jacques Faul taking over as acting Chief Executive, several well-known and competent people have been roped in by the duo.

It is understood that Smith was unwilling to take up the role initially due to the presence of former Chief Executive Thabang Moroe, but came on board once Faul joined. After four CSA board members resigned and seven staff members were suspended, Mark Boucher has joined the team as the coach till World Cup 2023.

The latest addition to the list has been the inclusion of Jacques Kallis as South Africa batting consultant. Charl Langeveldt has also move out from Bangladesh's coaching set-up to take up the bowling consultant's role with South Africa, following a request from Cricket South Africa to Bangladesh Cricket Board. Enoch Nkwe is in the role of assistant coach.

Six uncapped players named for first two Tests vs England

As many as six players who are yet to make their Test debut have been named in the South African squad for the first two Tests against England. The squad was picked by a panel, including skipper what Faf du Plessis, coach Mark Boucher, assistant coach Enoch Nkwe and independent selector Linda Zondi.

The 17-member squad includes batsmen Pieter Malan and Rassie van der Dussen, wicketkeeper Rudi Second, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius and pacers Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks. Top-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn, wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen, pacer Lungi Ngidi and spinners Dane Piedt and Senuran Muthusamy are the ones to miss out.

All of them were part of the India Test squad but could not leave a mark. Lungi Ngidi would have started for the team in the first Test but a hamstring injury has kept him away from selection. Ngidi suffered significant grade 1 hamstring muscle tear while warming up for and MSL fixture between Tshwane Spartans and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and is expected to recover fully by the beginning of February 2020.

Spinning all-rounder Dane Piedt would feel the most hard done after being dropped. He performed well in the second Test against India. However, understandably, South Africa have gone only for their leading spinner Keshav Maharaj and will not need more than one tweaker in home conditions.

Domestic performances awarded

While Aiden Markram will open the batting in the first Test, Pieter Malan has been selected as a reserve opener. Malan scored 199 runs in domestic cricket from six innings at an average of 33.16, including a century.

Rassie van der Dussen has been awarded for his consistent performances in white-ball cricket and has also come up with the goods in domestic four-day games, where he was the third highest on the run charts.

Rudi Second has also been included in the squad as a cover for Quinton de Kock. He can also be given the gloves if the Proteas decide to field de Kock as an opener.

Among the bowlers, Beruan Hendricks finds his name in the Test squad. His left-arm swing bowling adds a different dimension to the team's attack.

Andile Phehlukwayo, who last played a Test match in January 2018 has also been included in the squad. He will serve as a backup for Vernon Philander and also provides a solid all-round option in Test cricket.

South Africa squad for first two Tests against England - Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Pieter Malan, Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second, Rassie van der Dussen

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