Proteas bowlers must ’embrace the challenge’ in Kagiso Rabada’s absence
THE Proteas are yet to decide who will take the new ball in the absence of injured fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in the first ODI against England at Newlands today, but bowling coach Charl Langeveldt believes it is a "great opportunity" for someone else to take on the mantle.
Rabada missed the final T20I earlier this week with an abductor side strain and was subsequently ruled out of the three-match one-day series.
He will be joined on the sidelines by former captain Faf du Plessis, who has been rested. Reeza Hendricks, Pite van Biljon and Bjorn Fortuin have also all returned to their franchises after the completion of the T20s.
The Proteas, though, are well-stocked in terms of seam bowling resources with Beuran Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman and Junior Dala all part of the enlarged squad in addition to the incumbents Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje.
Hendricks played in the first T20I at Newlands, but endured a horror 28-run over that tilted the game in England's favour. Equally, Sipamla, who replaced Rabada in the final T20, also suffered a pasting at the hands of the explosive English batsmen.
Although both bowlers still offer plenty of promise going forward, it is unlikely the selection panel - chief Victor Mpitsang, head coach Mark Boucher and assistant Enoch Nkwe - will call on them just yet.
This leaves 28-year-old Stuurman as a prime candidate to make his international debut after impressing with his yorkers in the 3TC exhibition match earlier this year.
However, Dala's extra pace and aggression could possibly give him the edge when the selectors convene. The Titans seamer last pulled on a Proteas jumper in March 2019 in against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers.
"KG is massive for us. He strikes with the new ball, but it's a great opportunity for a young bowler," Langeveldt said. "Junior is very much part of our 50-over plans. He is nice and aggressive. He bowls hard lengths.
"We have worked on up-skilling him to bowl slower balls and yorkers.”
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Regardless of the final composition of the bowling unit that will hopefully too be bolstered by the return of fit-again all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, it will remain a baptism of fire in this ODI series.
Langeveldt doesn't want his young bowling unit to fear the power-packed world champions though. Instead he hopes they will embrace the challenge.
"For a young bowler it is a great opportunity to test your mental strength. They are going to come hard at you. That's their nature, that's how they play. The brainstrust must also decide on a replacement for Du Plessis.
SQUADS FOR ODI SERIES
Proteas: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Beuran Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Glenton Stuurman, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Lewis Gregory, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
TV: SuperSport, SABC 3