Gqeberha – In what is arguably the most exciting South Africa A squad in a long time, IOL Sport’s Ongama Gcwabe lists five players to keep an eye on as the squad heads to Sri Lanka for a five-match tour.
The tour will see the next crop of talent get a taste of international cricket and also provide an opportunity for a few Proteas players to breathe life into their international careers.
The youngster has finally turned the corner in his young career, particularly in red-ball cricket and has been selected to be part of this squad for the first time.
Breetzke finished the domestic 4-Day competition as leading run-scorer with some big centuries to his name, including one against a strong Lions bowling attack which had Kagiso Rabada and Lutho Sipamla in tough conditions at the Wanderers in Johannesburg earlier this year.
Having started his career as an opener across all formats, Breetzke made a difficult transition to being a middle order batter look easy in the past two seasons and is likely to feature in all five scheduled fixtures because of his versatility.
With 727 runs at an average of 61, including three centuries and four 50s this past season, Breetzke is certainly one player who the world could see in the Proteas Test squad soon.
Dropped from the Test squad despite being the most successful batter in a Test series in Australia last December, Verreynne has a point to prove on this tour.
When Conrad took over as coach of the Test team, he told the media he felt Heinrich Klaasen, who was behind Verreynne in the pecking order before Conrad took over, had done more domestically than Verreynne.
This tour will provide the best opportunity for Verreynne to prove to the coach he is more than ready to slot back into the Test squad that will host India next summer.
The wicketkeeper-batter accumulated over 500 runs in the 4-Day series last season including a big 201 not out at Newlands.
Arguably the most talented cricketer in domestic cricket, Swanepoel has been one of the standout cricketers this past season.
He finished leading wicket-taker with 33 wickets at an average of 16. Many liken the right-arm seam bowler to Vernon Philander because of his incredible control with ball in hand.
His accuracy and ability to swing and seam the ball in almost any conditions make him a threat to any opening batters at any professional level.
With bat in hand, Swanepoel has the ingredients to become a contender for the all-rounder spot in the Test squad in the near future.
But his bowling skills alone could be enough to convince Conrad he is ready for Test cricket.
It has been a difficult journey for the talented Hamza since making his Test debut as successor to Hashim Amla a few years ago.
The nine-month doping ban he was handed by the International Cricket Council last year February made things tricky for Hamza, and this happened right after he forced his way back into the Test squad after being dropped after the 2020 3-1 Test series defeat to England.
But history reveals there are some individuals who find a deeper purpose and understanding of themselves in the most hopeless circumstances.
Hamza demonstrated that quality when he returned to play for Western Province late last year with a brilliant hundred at the Bullring in a 4-Day series fixture against the Lions.
If there’s any player determined to remind the world why he was said to be the heir to the No.3 spot in the Test squad after Amla, it is Hamza.
In just one Test series, Conrad has shown no player is safe in the Test squad by dropping senior players Rassie van der Dussen and Lungi Ngidi.
Hamza will know the ball is in his court to build on his CV for a shot at Test cricket again.
Only a few cricketers, perhaps only Rabada and Quinton de Kock in recent times, had a blistering start to their professional careers like young Hermann has had.
The opening batter is known for his fearless approach and for his picturesque stroke play.
In his first full season at the top of domestic cricket, Hermann has proven to be one for the future and arguably next in line for the opening spot in the Test team should Dean Elgar retire or get injured.
Hermann finished second in the leading run-scorers list with 618 runs at an average of 62 and a highest score of 187 not out.
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