It’s been a very long time since South Africa have played international cricket, but after long last, the wait is over.
South Africa face off against England for a limited overs series over November and December, starting with a 3-match T20I series in Cape Town.
As it stands, two Proteas players have tested positive for Covid-19, with four players in isolation. As a result, South Africa’s intra-squad warm-up match scheduled for Saturday 21st November has been cancelled and we wait for news on a third Covid test, due to be completed later this week, before the series begins on Friday.
England meanwhile have returned all negative tests and will be playing their own intra-squad training match at Newlands on Sunday.
For now, the series is still going ahead and we, fingers crossed, will see the players take the field on Friday evening at the iconic and beautiful Newlands cricket ground for the first T20I.
England are a tough team to beat in the shorter format, with their explosive and long batting line up, and strong bowling attack. They currently have the no.1 ranked T20I batsman in their squad, in Dawid Malan, and with aggressive players like Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, they are a tough team to bowl to.
Chris Jordan is just 3 wickets away from overtaking Stuart Broad as England’s leading T20I wicket-taker and after a rocky start to his IPL campaign, he ended the tournament finding his feet. However, despite Jordan’s T20 bowling prowess, England boast a strong bowling line-up, with Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Sam Curran, who proved just how useful he is in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings, being one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise disappointing campaign for CSK.
With the T20 World Cup next year, South Africa would like to improve their record in the format, having lost their last two series against England and Australia earlier this year.
With some young and exciting players included in South Africa’s squad though, there is hope and potential for improved performances. Kyle Verreynne is one that has a bright future ahead of him and is in good form in domestic cricket, albeit in the longer format. His aggressive style of play and never say die attitude are things we’ve seen in his short international career thus far.
With the next T20 World Cup in India, it is very encouraging to see that South Africa have a number of quality spinners (Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde & Bjorn Fortuin) in their squad. It would be ideal to see each of these players feature at least once in this short limited overs series.
Player workloads should be managed, and as such, Kagiso Rabada should be rested for the T20I series, given that South Africa have a long and grueling summer of international cricket ahead. While Rabada has been leading the bowling attack over the past few years, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje have now played enough international cricket to take this lead in Rabada’s absence, and should be given the chance to do so.
This highly anticipated series is sure to be an exciting and exhilarating one to watch, and begins on Friday 27th November, at 6pm SA time.