Home Sport Cricket Proteas fringe players have opportunity to stake their claim

Proteas fringe players have opportunity to stake their claim

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With the international schedule heavily affected by the IPL, both the Windies and the Proteas will be missing some of their first-choice players, but an opportunity lost will be gained by those present to stake their claim in the team for future consideration.

Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – South Africa v Afghanistan – Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India – November 10, 2023South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen in action REUTERS/Amit Dave

Obakeng Meletse

The Proteas will hope to bear fruit in the driest part of Kingston, Jamaica, from Thursday against the West Indies as they not only look to get their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup preparation off to a positive start, but avenge their 2-1 home series loss.

With the international schedule heavily affected by the IPL, both teams will be missing some of their first-choice players, but an opportunity lost will be gained by those present to stake their claim in the team for future consideration.

Rassie van der Dussen will lead the Proteas in the three-match series in the Caribbean and a couple of years ago he was the leading white-ball player in the country with South Africa going through a lot of transition after key player retirements.

The 35-year-old batter has played 43 T20 matches for South Africa and has scored seven half-centuries, at a strike rate of 129.2. The MI Cape Town batter had decent outings in the SA20, too, scoring 328 runs with one century, and another 331 runs in 15 matches during the CSA T20 Challenge for the Lions.

Unfortunately, as decent as his numbers have been, they were not good enough to get him in the World Cup team. Van der Dussen, therefore, has a chance to reinvigorate his international career and return to the match-winning performances that South Africa relied on previously.

Lions teammate Wiaan Mulder’s inconsistency on the domestic front has seen him pay the price for the World Cup, despite his good form, particularly in the CSA T20 Challenge.

Mulder lived up to his potential in that tournament and was instrumental in the Lions winning the championship, but he will need to back it up against the West Indies if he wants to challenge leading all-rounder Marco Jansen in the future.

Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi, meanwhile, has fallen behind Gerald Coetzee, Anrich Nortje and Ottneil Baartman, who were the preferred attack for the World Cup. Similar to Van der Dussen, the 28-year-old Titans seam bowler was a permanent fixture a few years back but an ill-timed injury cost him his place in the squad.

He will look to improve on his 2/45 when these sides met last year at the Wanderers Stadium and work his way back to being a permanent fixture in the side.

Lastly, CSA T20 Challenge top run scorer and Warriors captain, Matthew Breetzke, has shown growth and consistent improvement.

His outside chance to be selected never materialised and he has another chance to stake a claim for a permanent place in the side after a slow start in the T20 series against India last year.

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