The fresh faces picked to represent the Protea fire

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21 Dec 2021 | 07:47 AM staff

The fresh faces picked to represent the Protea fire

Going through the new names in the 21-man South Africa squad for the Test series against India

South Africa have picked a fairly young squad for the three-Test series against India at home. The average age of their 21-man squad is approximately 26 years old. There are a number of new or unknown faces, many of them picked as injury covers. Not all of them will get a chance but from India's perspective, it will be important to gain some prior knowledge about them. 

Duanne Olivier

Duanne Olivier will be the centre of attraction in the series. And that goes irrespective of his selection in the XI, primarily because of his bittersweet past with South Africa cricket. 

As a 24-year old, Olivier began his Test career with South Africa in 2017 and became the latest sensation of the Protea fire with his wicket-taking ability. He snaffled 48 wickets in only 10 Tests, averaging 19.25 runs per wicket. 

He was the Player of the Series in the three-Test series against Pakistan in the 2018/19 season, pouching 24 wickets at 14.7 runs apiece. He likes to hit the deck which generally troubles the Asian batters.  

However, that was also the time when it became clear that he would quit South Africa cricket, opting for a Kolpak deal with the English county Yorkshire. He even expressed his desire to represent England. But after more than two years, the abolishment of the Kolpak system brought him back to his native country in April, 2021. Olivier played for the Lions in the ongoing first-class competition. Named in the 21-man squad for South Africa’s Test series against India, this is Olivier’s first re-introduction to international cricket. In an already stacked Protea bowling line-up, it will be tough to keep him out given his experience of 502 first-class wickets. 

Marco Jansen

India fans’ will know Marco Jansen from the 2021 IPL auction where he was signed by Mumbai Indians. One of the few overseas uncapped players to feature in IPL, Jansen has been a part of the Protea Test squad before when he toured Pakistan earlier this year. Prior to that, he featured for South Africa U19s and toured India in the late 2019 with the South Africa A side. 

A left-arm pace bowling all-rounder, Jansen has 16 wickets in the ongoing first-class season at 19.6 runs apiece. Six of these wickets have come against the recently concluded three-match series against India A. Here, Jansen also scored a brilliant 70 not out with the bat. 

During India’s last tour of South Africa in 2018, Jansen troubled Virat Kohli as a net bowler, beating him thrice outside the off stump. With the Indian team back in town, Jansen now stands a chance to make his international debut. 

Sarel Erwee

Sarel Erwee is a domestic cricket stalwart, holding the experience of 95 first-class games. A left-handed opener who proceeds with calculated aggression, Erwee has been at top of the batting average charts in domestic cricket of late. That is what earned him his maiden Test call-up around 12 months ago. However, he came in as a back-up opener and has been waiting for his chance ever since. In the recently concluded series between South Africa A and India A, he finished as the top-scorer - 251 runs at an average of 50.2. Erwee can bowl handy off-spin as well which may work in his favor to make his Test debut, if not as an opener then a batting all-rounder down the order. 

Keegan Petersen

Keegan Petersen is another seasoned campaigner in South Africa’s domestic cricket who not only knocked the selector’s door but broke it down to make his Test debut in June this year. 

His maiden call-up to the Test squad came in December 2019, at the back of a 923-run domestic season (average 61.5). The ongoing first-class season is his fourth consecutive year with an average in excess of 50. Petersen also holds the experience of scoring a ton against a Test quality bowling attack, scoring 111 in a warm-up game against the touring England side. Hence, he leapfrogged many young Protea batsmen to make his debut in West Indies. It could have come earlier against Sri Lanka at home if Petersen hadn’t missed joining the bio bubble. In the Caribbean, he managed only 44 runs in two Tests in tough conditions but he is someone who is earmarked as the future of South Africa batting. 

Glenton Stuurman

Glenton Stuurman is a heavily built right-arm seamer who can swing the new ball as well as hit the deck with the older one. Since his debut in 2013, he has picked up pace and can be a real troublemaker for batting line-ups on lively pitches. 

Stuurman has been named in South Africa’s Test squads a few times and will be in reckoning for Test debut in the upcoming series against India as well. He averages 22.7 runs per wicket for his 15 scalps with the red ball this season. Stuurman has also appeared in a solitary T20I for South Africa, against Pakistan in February, 2021. 

Sisanda Magala

A 30-year-old right arm pacer, Sisanda Magala has earned his maiden Test call-up for South Africa’s three-match series against India. Making his domestic cricket debut in 2010, Magala’s rise has been catalysed by the emergence of T20 cricket of late. As a result he was selected in the white-ball squads to represent South Africa last year. In 2021, he made his debut in both ODIs (against Netherlands) and T20Is (four T20Is against Pakistan in April). In the first-class competition this season, Magala pouched 15 wickets in three games, at 14.3 runs per wicket, opening the door for his maiden call-up in the Test squad. 

Prenelan Subrayen

28 years old, Prenelan Subrayen is picked as a bowling all-rounder who specialises in off-spin bowling. He was first selected for South Africa’s tour of West Indies earlier this year but didn’t get a game. In the squad named against India, he is the only proper spin-bowling all-rounder and the only specialist off-spinner. Playing domestic cricket since 2010, he has been twice reported for a suspectful bowling action. However, the last of it was in 2016 and Subrayen has gone from strength to strength since then to find a post in the Test squad. 

Kyle Verreynne 

Kyle Verreynne is a wicket-keeping batter. The third youngest member of South Africa’s 21-man squad, Vereynne has played a fair bit of cricket for South Africa - two Tests against West Indies and nine ODIs since 2020. In his last outing, an abandoned ODI against the Netherlands in November, 2021, he scored his career best thus far - 95. 

Verreynne is almost certain to get a go in the Tests against India as well. He can be included as a pure batter in the first Test, as he did in the absence of Temba Bavuma in the Caribbean. In any case, he is the next in line when Quinton de Kock will be unavailable for a part of the Test series to be with his family for the birth of his first child. 

Ryan Rickelton

The third wicketkeeping option in the squad, Ryan Rickelton is among the top 10 run-scorers in South Africa’s first-class competition this season. With two hundreds in three games, the left-hander has amassed 281 runs at an average of 93.7. He is an attacking top-order batter and that gets reflected in his strike-rate of 72 4 for those 281 runs. While the incumbency factor prefers Verreynne as the back-up option, Rickelton has the recent record in his favor to make his Test debut this season. 

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India tour of South Africa, 2021/22South AfricaDuanne OlivierSarel ErweeKeegan PetersenGlenton StuurmanMarco JansenPrenelan SubrayenKyle VerreynneSisanda MagalaRyan Rickelton

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