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The Proteas get their away season started in an unofficial T20 tri- series against Bang-ladesh tomorrow with a whole host of fresh faces in the squad.
Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Faf du Plessis, Justin Ontong and Dane Vilas are all names on the domestic circuit and now have a chance to make their mark on the big stage.
South African skipper Hashim Amla reckons this is the ideal time for the Proteas to experiment and try out new combinations.
“From what I understand, there will be a lot of experimenting on this tour. The Twenty20 format allows us to have guys who don’t normally open the batting open the batting,” Amla said.
“There will probably be a lot of chopping and changing.
“We’re trying to give everyone a chance on this tour. We’ve got some really young and exciting players who have just come into the side and we hope that with all the experimenting the selectors and the coach and everyone can get an idea of where they want the team to be, especially before the T20 World Cup,” he added.
With the explosion of T20 events around the world, some teams have steered towards creating more specialist T20 teams and while Amla believes it’s a worthwhile strategy, the 29-year insists it is key to find a balance where the side doesn’t change drastically across the different formats.
“The trend in international cricket for more specialised sides is definitely there but I haven’t given it much thought. We need to just make sure we find a good balance, where the team doesn’t change too much across the different formats,” said Amla.
On paper, it should be a walk in the park for South Africa.
Zimbabwe have won just three of their 20 T20 matches and, while they’ve only played South Africa twice, they’ve never beaten them.
Bangladesh are in a similar situation, having played South Africa just twice, losing both and having won just four out of their 18 T20 matches. South Africa have a far superior record, with 49 T20s under their belt, and 29 victories, there will certainly be an air of expectation about the team coming back as series winners.
“We’re looking forward to getting the boys together and starting the season off. We’re kind of expecting to come back as winners, we want to go there and perform well, but we know that T20 can go either way and both teams we are playing are good sides who can perform well,” Amla said.
l See also Page 27