The Proteas play just two Tests against visiting India this summer, eager to roll into the SA20 tournament that will follow. James Richardson looks at a few young players who might soon be ready to break into the national red-ball setup.
While the SA20 will surely showcase a whole lot of young South African talent, a few of them could do the job for the Test team.
These young players have shown flashes of real potential in their limited First Class careers to date and might be worth getting into the lineup.
The Warriors Jordan Hermann was one of the players given a platform by the first SA20, and the former South Africa Under-19 international has made an impressive start to his red-call career.
Hermann’s hundred in the Warriors’ desperate follow-on against North West in Potch earlier this year is the kind of batting the Proteas need.
While he can open the batting, Hermann might serve the Proteas better as a middle-order man, given that the national team doesn’t have too many southpaws at their disposal.
Hermann’s domestic runs are made that much more impressive by the fact that he plays his home games at a ground that isn’t the easiest to bat at in St George’s Park.
Another reason Hermann stands out is that the Warriors’ batting has generally not been that great, so he has been getting his runs under pressure.
The Hollywoodbets Dolphins’ batting prospect Slade van Staden has responded well to being pushed around the order and within the KwaZulu-Natal cricketing structures.
Van Staden doesn’t yet have the kind of numbers that would propel him into the national team conversation, but he is one that has the promise of being a special player.
His batting style is comparable to that of Temba Bavuma as a player of similar stature. He has opened the batting in red-ball cricket but appears to be better suited to a role in the middle order.
DAY 4 of the CSA 4-Day Series clash between @Hollywoodbets Dolphins and Warriors start in the most exciting way with debutant Slade Van Staden reaching his 50*— Dolphins Cricket (@DolphinsCricket) January 30, 2022
Well played, Slade! 👏👏👏
Be sure to follow the action live via link below:https://t.co/azMW4TJa1k pic.twitter.com/XnhlvtkXRj
Young Titans seamer Merrick Brett is a player who has the potential to mimic the great success of Vernon Philander in red-ball cricket.
Brett doesn’t really have express pace, but if he can develop his control, he has already shown that he can be a weapon in South African conditions.
Western Province’s 23-year-old seam-bowling allrounder Mihlali Mpongwana could quickly become a player of national interest with a strong run in the 4-Day series.
Mpongwana was handy with the white ball in the One-Day Cup for Western Province and did enough to earn himself a South Africa A call-up.
He backed up that form in the 4-Day A ‘Test’ against the West Indies with the ball but didn’t show his great promise with the bat.
Mpongwana could just be the answer to the Proteas’ very long tail, and it seems the selectors agree after getting him into the A squad.