Temba Bavuma is the new Proteas Test captain, with several players and management getting the boot

Shukri Conrad’s tenure as Proteas Test coach has started with a whirlwind before a single delivery is bowled. The upcoming Test series against West Indies starts on 28 February.

The new red-ball head coach has made several changes to his side, including appointing Temba Bavuma as Test captain, replacing Dean Elgar in the role.

“We trust [Bavuma] will deliver on all our expectations and help carry the team forward, after some excellent work by his predecessor Dean during the same period,” said Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director of Cricket, Enoch Nkwe.

“At the same time, I would like to sincerely thank Dean for all his commitment to the role over the past two years. He helped the team navigate through some stormy waters and put them in a good position on the ICC World Test Championship table.”

Bavuma has been captain of the white-ball side since March 2021, but has now relinquished the captaincy of the T20 side, having led the team to two World Cups in the format – in United Arab Emirates in 2021, and in Australia last year.

“I think Dean’s done an exceptional job over the last couple of years. In my conversation with Dean, that is something I’ve made very clear. This was my decision,” Conrad told the media on Friday, 17 February.

“I felt Temba and I had a really good fit. Dean’s still going to play a huge part of our leadership group. This doesn’t make Dean a bad captain and Temba a good captain.

“I just felt this was the right fit for me, and the right fit for us going forward.

“We’ve come a long way, Temba and I. He knows pretty much how I want to do things, and I have a pretty good understanding of how he wants to be involved and run things.”

There has also been a restructuring of the national selection committee, as convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang and Patrick Moroney have been released by CSA.

The interim structure will see the head coaches of the respective teams playing a leading role in squad selections, along with the captains, in the short-term.

“We also felt this was an opportune time to reassess the selection team and we’ve decided to make some changes that we expect will help us with planning better in the future,” Nkwe explained.

West Indies Test additions

In the squad elected to take on West Indies, a few new faces are included, with a few old names left out.

Tony de Zorzi – the highest run-scorer in the current domestic four-day season – has received his maiden call-up to the side.

De Zorzi has amassed 489 runs at an average of 122.25 at the top of the order for Western Province.

Ryan Rickelton, who was left out of South Africa’s recent tour to Australia, has been recalled to the squad. Keegan Petersen is also called up to the team, having missed out against Australia due to injury.

Aiden Markram also receives a recall, having recently led the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title. Markram spent most of his recent outings in the Test side in the middle order, but Conrad said authoritatively that the 28-year-old will open the batting alongside Elgar in the first Test at SuperSport Park.

North West Dragons’ Senuran Muthusamy also joins the Test squad for the first time since 2019. Conrad confirmed that he sees Muthusamy and Wiaan Mulder – who was also recalled – competing for the all-rounder spot in the playing 11. 

Proteas squad omissions

A number of players have been left out of the Proteas squad, with two glaring omissions. That of Kyle Vereynne – who was the second-highest run-scorer in South Africa’s tour of Australia – and Lungi Ngidi, who averages 23.4, with a strike rate of 45.4 in Test cricket.

In turn, Heinrich Klaasen will don the gloves for the national team. “Kyle’s omission was a tough one. Ultimately, I get paid to make certain calls and subjectivity plays a part,” said Conrad.

“And this was my conversation with Kyle. He’s done everything that can be possibly expected, but I think Klaasen’s done more and deserves a full crack at it.

“For me it was a straight shootout as to who I want and for me it’s Klaasen. And that’s just unfortunate for someone like Kyle. It’s certainly not the door closed for him.”


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Meanwhile, Gerald Coetzee – who toured to Australia, but failed to play a match – is in for Ngidi.

“It’s purely Gerald ahead of Lungi right now,” Conrad said. “Gerald Coetzee needs a good run. We all know the promise that Gerald holds, and now is as good a time as ever to unleash Gerald.”

The other omissions in the side include opener Sarel Erwee, Rassie van der Dussen and Khaya Zondo.

Conrad, however, confirmed that the door for a Test recall is not closed for any of the players dropped, but said that only outstanding domestic performances will see them rejoin the team. DM

Proteas Test squad against West Indies

Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Gerald Coetzee (Knights), Tony de Zorzi (Western Province), Dean Elgar (Titans), Simon Harmer (Titans), Marco Jansen (Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Senuran Muthusamy (North West Dragons), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Keegan Petersen (Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Ryan Rickelton (Lions).

Author: editor

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