New kids on the block ready to step into the spotlight for Proteas
FARHAAN Behardien has referred to it as a squad with “fresh” faces. All the new Proteas players may be making international debuts but, as Behardien indicated, they have plenty of experience in high-pressure games.
Stuart Hess looks at the six new Proteas, hoping to make an impression in the three T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka
Jon-Jon Smuts (Age 28)
He was the outstanding batsman in the T20 Challenge this season, combining explosive hitting with remarkable consistency which saw the Warriors through to the final in that competition. There’s little subtlety about Smuts’s approach with the willow – he hits a cricket ball very hard. If there’s a bit of finesse it’s with the ball and his slow left-arm orthodox bowling was a crucial part of the Warriors’ strategy. It will be a useful asset for South Africa too.
Theunis de Bruyn (24)
A prodigy of sorts who has already delivered some impactful performances across various formats at franchise and SA A level. There are huge expectations of De Bruyn, not just from coaches and administrators, but the player himself. A stylish batsman, with a wide range of strokes, his enquiring mind stands him in good stead for a long and prosperous international career.
Andile Phehlukwayo (20)
Has had a taste of the international scene already this season, having played six ODIs, but this will be his first outing for the national T20 side. An explosive player with a real sense for the occasion. Loves the spotlight and when it was on him in the series against Australia in the ODIs he relished it. Has great variety with the ball and an enthusiastic if unrefined approach with the bat.
Mangaliso Mosehle (27)
Gets a chance to create some new memories for himself and the public. Mosehle’s outstanding moment in his career thus far was in the final of the domestic T20 tournament at SuperSport Park last season when he smashed 87 off 39 balls as his then franchise, the Titans, overcame the Dolphins. Oozing with talent whether with the bat or the wicketkeeping gloves, it’s his self-belief that needs boosting.
Dane Paterson (27)
Has been spoken of for a while as a possible member of the national limited-overs teams, and now gets his chance. An action similar to that of Proteas’ bowling coach Charl Langeveldt, he is like Langeveldt, a good exponent of “death” bowling. Varies his pace well but it will be interesting to see whether he can be inspired by playing in the Proteas shirt, for his showings for the Cobras this season have been mediocre.
Lungi Ngidi (20)
Tall, strong and athletic, he has every physical attribute you could want in a fast bowler. As Behardien pointed out, he’s also enjoyed playing in high-pressure games, and his spell in this season’s T20 Challenge Final helped to set up victory for the Titans. A bit like De Bruyn, there are enormous expectations of Ngidi, but watching him play and hearing him speak suggests he’s ready for the big time.