JOHANNESBURG – Heinrich Klaasen will captain an inexperienced Proteas side in the three match T20 series in Pakistan, with Cricket South Africa giving priority to the Test series with Australia that is due to take place in March.
Of the 21-member Test squad that is currently in Karachi, only Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde will stay behind for the three T20 Internationals that will take place in Lahore from February 11.
The remainder of that squad will head back to South Africa to quarantine for 14 days as part of agreements made between Cricket SA and Cricket Australia to ensure the three match Test series scheduled to be hosted here can take place. The arrangements for that series are still being finalised.
It’s meant Cricket SA have had to get creative with selection. “The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled sporting bodies to find innovative ways of ensuring tours and sporting events take place as planned or with as little disruption to revised plans as possible,” said Cricket SA’s Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith.
“It’s an example of the measures that some cricket nations will have to put in place to ensure that they can squeeze more than one tour in a period of three or four months, while fulfilling Covid-19 protocol obligations.”
In addition to players, CSA is also finalising which and how many members of the coaching staff will stay in Pakistan, and others who must return home to help prepare the side for Pakistan.
David Miller, JJ Smuts, Pite van Biljon and Andile Phehlukwayo will provide critical assistance for Klaasen as far as leadership is concerned. While that quartet will look at it as a chance to cement places in a T20 World Cup squad, for the youngsters like the Lions’ Ryan Rickelton, the Titans Okuhle Cele, Jacques Snyman of the Knights, the Cobras’ Nandre Burger and the Warriors Glenton Stuurman - now recovered from his quadriceps ailment - it's an opportunity to grab the spotlight.
“It’s a big year for T20 international cricket, with the World Cup coming up and this is the ideal opportunity for youngsters to put their hands up and grab opportunities, however they may come,” said the chairman of selectors Victor Mpitsang.
“We are excited to see what these youngsters will do under what won’t be the easiest of conditions, but more than that, we as a (selection) panel, are looking forward to seeing the more experienced players step up as leaders and take ownership of the team.”
SA T20 squad for Pakistan:
Heinrich Klaasen (capt), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Pite van Biljon, Glenton Stuurman, Jacques Snyman.