Given that now Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from Test Cricket, South Africa will need to think about who will replace this legend and take up the number 4 slot in the Test team.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 contenders who I feel could stake a claim for this spot:
Having already played 5 Tests, Hamza has had a taste of the big stage. Some will argue that after 10 innings, and an average of 18 with one half-century, Hamza hasn’t taken his chance. I, on the other hand argue that after just 10 innings, he hasn’t had a fair chance to showcase what he can do. Being one of only a handful of batsmen on that ill-fated India tour in 2019 to score a half-century, Hamza showed patience, technique and skill to bat in tough conditions. He should be given another chance in the Test team, and this could be the perfect opportunity to do so.
Consistently scoring runs for the Dolphins for multiple seasons, and averaging 58 in the 2020/21 four-day competition, Keegan Peterson can no longer be ignored. Despite receiving his maiden call-up to the Test team, he is still waiting for his chance but now that a position has become available, this could be his chance to shine. With a wealth of experience of domestic cricket under his belt, he will appreciate the enormity of the situation and hopefully for him, if offered, will take his chance with both hands.
Raynard van Tonder
A young and exciting player, Raynard van Tonder is the leading run-scorer in the domestic four-day competition this season with 604 runs at 67. Typically known to bat at 3, van Tonder is a solid performer as evidenced by his incredibly impressive first-class average of 50 after 33 matches. He could adopt the number 3 slot in the Proteas Test team, which would allow Rassie van der Dussen to drop one spot down the order.
An opener by trade, it could well be worth introducing Saral Erwee into the Test team as a number 3 or 4 batsman. This would allow him to settle into the side without having to face the enormous task of opening in Test Cricket, which thankfully for South Africa has been settled for some time now. Despite being placed fifth in the leading run-scores with 422 runs, his average of 60 is very impressive, with two half-centuries and one century to speak of in the 5 games this season. Not a bad return at all for the experienced campaigner.
Having scored 504 runs at 56 in the current season of the domestic four-day competition, and having a career first-class average of 45, Rudi Second has long been thought of as a worthy Test Cricketer, Is this now his time? A genuine number 4 batsman, and not unaccustomed to having to rescue an innings, he will fit in well with the Proteas.
Thankfully for the Proteas, there is no Test cricket on the horizon in the near future, so panic selections can be avoided. I can only hope though, that once a replacement is made, this player is given ample opportunity to prove himself.