Proteas hints at prospect of 2 newbies for 1st West Indies test

  • Proteas captain Dean Elgar isn’t too bothered by the possibility of fielding two debutants for the first test against the West Indies on Thursday in Saint Lucia.
  • Keegan Petersen is in the running for a test start as a replacement for Faf du Plessis while Kyle Verreynne could bow if Temba Bavuma is not in good shape.
  • The test will be SA’s first in the Caribbean in 11 years and the first on the ground.

The prospect of fielding two debutants for the second time since Boxing Day in 2019 is hard to imagine, but one that Proteas captain Dean Elgar is preparing for.

With Faf du Plessis moving away from the red ball format, Keegan Petersen became the next batting position out of the row.

In the event that vice-captain Temba Bavuma fails to prove his fitness following a hip conflict in time for Thursday’s first test against the West Indies in St. Lucia, Kyle Verreyenne may also have to step up its debut in testing.

It’s something that Elgar, whose 2012 test debut against Australia saw him collect a pair against Mitchell Johnson’s fire and brimstone in Perth, is all set for.

The last time SA played two debutants in the same test, against England at SuperSport Park in December 2019, they won by 107 points.

One of them at Rassie van der Dussen not only scored an assured 51, but became a fixture on the testing side.

The other, Dwaine Pretorius, suffers from injuries.

“I don’t think we have an option because all of our replacement hitters haven’t played yet, so it’s possible that two guys will make their debut if Temba isn’t in good shape,” Elgar said.

“These are the cards we’ve been dealt with and the guys are ready.

“Maybe it’s not a bad thing that the younger ones are coming right now because they are hungry.”

The test will be South Africa’s first red ball out on the pitch, as they played two internationals there that they did not win.

In the semi-finals of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, they were beaten by Australia as they lost to Pakistan in the 2010 T20 World Cup.

The Covid-19 restrictions mean the SAs enter the test, their first in the West Indies since the 2010 third test at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, without a good first-class shot.

Elgar said their preparation conditions at Daren Sammy cricket ground may differ from what they will experience for the test where the hosts are set to release promising 19-year-old fast pitcher Jayden Seales.

“We’ve been told that the floor can be crimper friendly, but when you apply yourself you can come in and score points,” Elgar said.

“It was quite a challenge in our two day game when we played on the side strip with a slope that our bowlers fully maximized. It was covered and we played with the Dukes ball.

“We were taken to the extreme, but it gave us a lot of food for thought, but for the Test the wicket looks pretty flat. There could be some rewards for hitters and bowlers.”

Source: News24

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