Temba Bavuma’s Proteas’ preparations for the Cricket World Cup are heating up six weeks out from the showpiece event, which is set to take place in India from October 5 to November 19.
Temba Bavuma’s Proteas are set to face Afghanistan and New Zealand in Cricket World Cup warm-up matches in Thiruvananthapuram, southern India.
Time for talk has gone, as preparations for the World Cup heat up six weeks out from the showpiece event, which is set to take place in India from October 5 to November 19.
The International Cricket Council have announced 10 official warm-up fixtures as the teams’ final preparations for the tournament.
The warm-up games will take place from September 29 to October 3 across three venues in India – Guwahati, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.
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The Afghan and Kiwi assignment
The Proteas are scheduled to face off against Afghanistan and New Zealand on September 29 and October 2 respectively.
This will provide South Africa with the right intensity going into the World Cup as they will face 2019 World Cup finalists New Zealand.
Afghanistan are no minnows either, especially after they finished three spots above South Africa in the four-year-long ICC World Cup Super League standings.
Although coach Rob Walter is yet to announce the 15-man group – together with the three travelling reserves – for the World Cup, the white-ball squad that will take on Australia in five ODIs next month have assembled in Pretoria in preparation for that series.
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Walter has until September 5 to announce his squad, as per ICC regulations.
This seems to be a calculated move by the former Titans mentor, who aims to test the readiness of one or two individuals before making the final call on the World Cup squad.
Keshav Maharaj has miraculously recovered from the Achilles tendon tear he suffered in March, and is set to get his fitness tested in three T20 Internationals, which will take place in Kingsmead against a Mitchell Marsh-led Australian T20I team.
Dewald Brevis, Tristan Stubbs and Gerald Coetzee have also been included in the ODI squad, and will have a massive opportunity to force their way into the World Cup reckoning.
Big selection calls
There have been several big selection calls made this year already in the national team, one being that of Coetzee, who got a nod ahead of the experienced Lungi Ngidi in the Test squad that faced the West Indies in March.
And it would not be a complete shock to see one or two of these youngsters in the main 15 for the World Cup.
World Cup warm-up fixtures
Friday, September 29: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Guwahati; South Africa vs Afghanistan, Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram; New Zealand vs Pakistan, Hyderabad Saturday, September 30: India vs England, Guwahati; Australia vs Netherlands, Thiruvananthapuram Monday, October 2: England vs Bangladesh, Guwahati; New Zealand vs South Africa, Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
Tuesday, October 3: Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka, Guwahati; India vs Netherlands, Thiruvananthapuram; Pakistan vs Australia, Hyderabad