South African batsman Temba Bavuma (Gallo Images)
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday named the Proteas squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.
Temba Bavuma will lead the Proteas in what will be his first major world event at the helm since his permanent appointment earlier this year.
South Africa qualified automatically for the Super 12 section of the event by virtue of their top eight position in the ICC T20I Team Rankings.
The Proteas will open their campaign against Australia in the first game of the Super 12 stage at the Abu Dhabi International Cricket Stadium on 23 October.
The Proteas are grouped with England, Australia and the West Indies along with two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers from Round 1. South Africa will play the West Indies on 26 October in Dubai and England on 6 November in Sharjah.
Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper, Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Aiden Markram (Titans), David Miller (Dolphins), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Dwaine Pretorius (North West Dragons), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions)
Travelling reserves: Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), George Linde (Western Province), Lizaad Williams (Titans)
This is the same squad that will take on Sri Lanka in the upcoming three-match T20 International series in Colombo from 10-14 September with the exception of Lungi Ngidi, who has joined his IPL team, Chennai Super Kings, to complete the CSA return to play protocols and to acclimatise to the conditions in the UAE before the start of that tournament.
The SA team in Sri Lanka will be led by Keshav Maharaj, who took over the captaincy on an interim basis from Bavuma after the skipper fractured his right thumb in the first ODI last week.
“The national selection panel and I are extremely excited to announce this squad, which we believe is a world-beating squad. It has been a busy last few months for the Proteas and we have had enough time to assess our options and we are pleased with the outcome,” said CSA convenor of selectors, Victor Mpitsang.
CSA’s acting CEO, Pholetsi Moseki, commented: “Congratulations to our selectors on putting a competitive squad together, while taking injuries, form and team balance into account. Good luck to our team, whom I am sure will make our nation proud.”
Mpitsang added: “There is no better time than now for us to bring home the trophy and bring the nation together in a way that only sport can. We hope that South Africans will rally behind this team and cheer them all the way to the final.
“We are confident that we have a well-balanced and well thought out World Cup squad, with reserve players that are more than capable and up to the job if called up for it. The team has blossomed well under the leadership of Temba Bavuma and we look forward to seeing his return to the international stage once he is fully recovered from injury.
“On behalf of the national selection panel, I would like to wish Temba and coach, Mark Boucher all of the very best as the team continues to finalise its preparation in Sri Lanka and as Temba looks to make a full recovery from his injury.”
Mpitsang said the inclusion of Maharaj provides the team with an extra string to its spinning bow, together with his proven leadership credentials.
“Kesh is an excellent leader. He has the backing of the team and us as a Panel. He has more than proven his leadership skills in the Dolphins set up and reinforced our good decision during the ODI series against Sri Lanka which ended on Tuesday.
“His exemplary captaincy is what we believe is in the best interests of the team’s stability during this last international series that the team gets to play ahead of the World Cup.”
Further good news is that Bavuma is expected to be declared fit in time for the T20 World Cup.
“The prognosis is good and we are delighted to have such a strong leader at the helm of our unified team, which is committed to excelling and making all South Africans proud,” Moseki concluded.
T20 World Cup Super 12 (SA times):
23 Oct: Australia v South Africa, Abu Dhabi (16:00)
26 Oct: South Africa v West Indies, Dubai (16:00)
30 Oct: South Africa v A1, Sharjah (16:00)
2 Nov: South Africa v B2, Abu Dhabi (16:00)
6 Nov: England v South Africa, Sharjah (20:00)
10 Nov: Semi-final 1 (A1 v B2), Abu Dhabi (20:00)
11 Nov: Semi-final 2 (B1 v A2), Dubai (20:00)
14 Nov: Final, Dubai (20:00)
– CSA media