4 South Africa Players Who Could Make Their T20I Debut vs India
In their first assignment since a disastrous group-stage exit from the World Cup, the South African cricket team are touring India for three T20Is followed by three Tests.
With an eye on the approaching World T20, the visiting team’s management named a relatively inexperienced lot for the shortest format, leaving skipper Faf du Plessis and pacer Dale Steyn out of their squad.
“The T20 series gives us the last chance to have a look at our leadership and batting options as the next edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is now little more than a year away which is why we have gone with an inexperienced leadership group.”Corrie van Zyl, Cricket South Africa’s acting Director of Cricket
Here’s a look at the four uncapped players in South Africa’s 14-man squad, who could make their T20I debut under the captaincy of wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, in the series against India.
For most part of the year, pacer Anrich Nortje has been in the news for his injuries, than he has been for his cricket. But having recently proven his fitness during South Africa A’s unofficial ODIs against India A, the 25-year-old could earn his T20I cap in the upcoming rubber against the Men in Blue.
Nortje impressed in the Mzansi Super League, claiming eight wickets from three games at an economy of 6.91 before getting ruled out due to an ankle injury. He was bagged by KKR for the IPL, but was forced to sit out of the entire season due to a shoulder injury.
The pacer made his ODI debut in the home series against Sri Lanka in March, claiming 8 wickets in four games, but another injury – to his thumb, this time – forced him out of the World Cup.
He was called up for the T20I series against Sri Lanka, but didn’t get picked in the eleven. But with figures of 1/64, 1/40, 2/41 and 3/36 against India A, the 25-year-old could soon finally make his debut in the shortest format.
He made his international debut back in 2014, is Faf du Plessis’ deputy for the Test series against India, and was also South Africa A’s captain for the unofficial ODIs, but middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma hasn’t been in favour in the national team in the shorter formats of late.
The 29-year-old, however, found a place in the T20I squad for the India series on the back of his performance in the CSA T20 Challenge, where he led his team Highveld Lions to the title in his first season as captain this year. Bavuma scored a total of 326 runs in 9 innings at a strike rate of 137.55, including a century in the final.
He followed it up with a successful stint for Northamptonshire in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two, scoring 566 runs in 15 innings including two centuries and a half-century. In the five unofficial ODIs against India A preceding the T20Is, Bavuma put up scores of 8, 40, 27, 28* and 6.
On his ODI debut in 2016, Bavuma had smashed a 123-ball 113 against Ireland, but only got his second and final game in 2017, when he scored a 48 (off 37 balls) against Bangladesh.
Another player who earned a call-up to the T20I squad on the back of his performance in the CSA T20 Challenge, is all-rounder Bjorn Fortuin. Bavuma’s teammate in the tournament, the left-arm spinner finished as the highest wickettaker with 15 scalps in 10 matches at an economy rate of 5.65.
In four unofficial ODIs against India A, Fortuin picked four wickets in four games, returning with figures of 2/40, 1/27, 1/39 and 0/30. In the two innings that he got to bat, the right-hand batsman was unbeaten on 4* and 12*.
The 24-year-old, who is yet to make his international debut, made his first-class debut in 2013, and has since scored a total of 1,506 runs and picked up 100 wickets in 38 matches. In the 52 T20 games he has played since 2014, Fortuin has picked up 65 scalps including 4 four-wicket hauls, but scored a total of just 159 runs.
Earlier this year, Fortuin had smashed a 183 to guide the Highveld Lions to the title in the 4-Day Franchise Series.
George Linde wasn’t named in South Africa’s T20I squad initially, but was later included as a replacement for all-rounder Jon-Jon Trevor Smuts who "failed to meet the required fitness standards".
The 27-year-old from Cape Town scored a quickfire unbeaten 52 off 25 balls in South Africa’s second unofficial ODI against India A, and also snapped five wickets in four matches, returning with figures of 0/49, 1/21, 2/41 and 2/43.
The uncapped left-arm spinner, who was part of the 15-member spin camp that practised in Bengaluru last month, has played 75 T20 matches so far, scoring 611 runs at a strike rate of 139.81. He also snapped 77 wickets at a strike rate of 19.3.
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