Johannesburg - Jason Smith’s stunning early season form for the KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins has been rewarded with a call up to the South Africa A side, who will face India A in three first class matches later this month.
The 27 year old all-rounder made the move from Cape Town to Durban during the winter, looking to revitalise a career that was somewhat in limbo. Smith was one of the star players in the SA under-19 side that won the junior World Cup in 2014, but unlike Aiden Markram and Kagiso Rabada, who graduated from the team to become senior international stars, Smith’s career stagnated.
However the change of scenery appears to have done him the world of good. He was instrumental with both bat and ball as the Dolphins made it to the final of the T20 Knock Out tournament last month. He started the Four-Day series by scoring a hundred at his former home ground in the opening round of that competition, and followed it up with a half-century in Centurion against the Northerns Titans.
He’s been classed as a ‘reluctant bowler,’ nowadays, choosing to focus on his batting, but as he showed in the T20 tournament, he's still able to provide value with the ball.
The SA A will be led by Pieter Malan, and contains a blend of experience - from Malan, the Lions’ skipper Dominic Hendricks, left-arm seamer, Beuran Hendricks and left-arm spinner Senuran Muthusamy - and youth in the shape of Raynard van Tonder, Lutho Sipamla, Marco Jansen and Sinethemba Qeshile. Five players in the squad have represented in the Proteas in the Test arena.
“Test cricket remains one of Cricket SA’s key focus areas, along with ensuring that the format continues to thrive and hold relevance in our country. It is therefore vital that a steady stream of talent continues to emerge from our High Performance programme,” said selection convenor, Victor Mpitsang. .
“The COVID-19 pandemic saw the disruption of the South Africa A team’s fixtures and CSA is pleased to see the return of content for this programme. We are looking forward to more tours for this team in particular, as the A Team programme is a crucial one to CSA’s overall pipeline strategy.”
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT 📣— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) November 11, 2021
Pieter Malan will captain the 14-man SA 'A' four-day squad for the upcoming 3-match series against India 'A' 🏏
All matches will take place at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein from 23 November - 9 December.#SAAvINDA #BePartOfIt pic.twitter.com/FBpqNp27c8
The India A side includes Privthi Shaw, one of the stars of the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, another top order left-hander Devdutt Padikkal, who rose to prominence for the Bangalore in the IPL last year and the exciting 21 year old fast bowler, Umran Malik.
South Africa A: Pieter Malan (capt), Sarel Erwee, Dominic Hendricks, Raynard van Tonder, Sinethemba Qeshile, Senuran Muthusammy, Marco Jansen, Migael Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, George Linde, Jason Smith, Tony de Zorzi.
India A: Priyank Panchal (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Devdutt Padikkal, Sarfaraz Khan, Baba Aparajith, Upendra Yadav (wicket-keeper), K Gowtham, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Umran Malik, Ishan Porel, Arzan Nagwaswalla
INDIA A TOUR TO SOUTH AFRICA ITINERARY
Tue 23 – Fri 26: 1st Four-Day Match, Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
Mon 29 – Thu 02: 2nd Four-Day Match, Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
Mon 06 – Thu 09: 3rd Four-Day Match, Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein