Cricket South Africa on Thursday announced their squad for the upcoming seventh edition of the men’s T20 World Cup scheduled to start on 17 October in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Following is the squad and reserves announced for the event:
Squad: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, W Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen;
Reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams
On paper, it is a pretty young team and Temba Bavuma has been handed this enormous responsibility to lead this group. However, with big names like Chris Morris, Faf Du Plessis and Imran Tahir (the latter two who took retirement from the other forms of cricket to focus on this World Cup) missing out on the list, it came out as a shock for many fans. So let’s have a look at what the inclusion and exclusion of all these names can contribute to the Proteas through the statistical lenses.
The batting department:
With the likes of Quinton de Kock, Aidem Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, the South Africans indeed have an explosive and experienced squad to put on a show. But still, the exclusion of Faf and the wonderboy Janneman Malan could have been part of the squad and only might have increased the explosiveness to the team.
The bowling department:
The team more or less has the balanced its bowling department and have covered the picks required for the UAE conditions. However, with the likes of the dangerous fast-bowling lineup containing Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje the opponents have to devise their plans accordingly and be cautious.
If the other teams have made and are thinking that they have covered all the bases to face Proteas, then looking at their spin department will surely add some cumbersome tasks. With the current no. 1 T20 bowler Tabraiz Shamsi leading the pack for spinners and now with the return of Keshav Maharaj and Bjorn Fortuin, South Africans have made sure to cover the basics required to fully use the playing conditions and may have tilted the fortune wheels in their favour. You add Imran Tahir to this squad, and South Africa, if not right now, might have been the most fearsome bowling lineup of the event, even before the tournament commencement.
Will not picking the big guns hurt SA?
The focus on creating a well-balanced team for the big occasion was visible through the announcement. But the thought process behind the exclusion of Faf and Tahir have kept everyone confused at the moment, especially considering the sacrifice they went through for this.
But all said and done, the squad still showcases the immense potential and may produce unexpected upsets for the big bulls of cricket. Who knows, this young squad might make the impossible and grab that World Cup trophy – something that even the team’s past legends didn’t manage!