Proteas’ depth faces massive test with New Zealand Test tour, SA20 set to clash

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Pholetsi Moseki. Picture: Wikus de Wet/AFP

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Pholetsi Moseki. Picture: Wikus de Wet/AFP

Published Jul 23, 2023


With South Africa’s Test tour of New Zealand set for a collision with the SA20 playoffs, the depth of the domestic cricket talent pool will be tested as the Proteas are likely to send their third-best team to face the Black Caps next year.

There have been many questions concerns raised around whether South Africa’s domestic cricket is being prioritised.

In a Western Province post-season press conference with captain Kyle Verreynne and coach Salieg Nackerdien, the pair mentioned how the inaugural SA20 schedule affected their 4-Day Series preparations, and that it all could have been handled a lot better.

In Cricket South Africa’s defence, CEO Pholetsi Moseki told IOL Sport in March that the last summer was differently set up in that South Africa had to host the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup and the ICC Women’s World Cup within a space of three months.

Moseki made a valid point in that there was always going to be a clash between international and domestic cricket last season due to the busy calender, and that was the case as some players had almost no time to travel to join their domestic sides for the 4-Day Series right after the SA20 play-off stages.

Now, South Africa’s tour to New Zealand is set to collide with the SA20, and it could be that Test coach Shukri Conrad will have to take South Africa’s third-best red-ball cricketers to face the Black Caps from late January next year.

This is how the standard of domestic cricket will be tested, and to be frank, this will be the start of the test as many T20 leagues around the world arise and promise to threaten every nation’s schedules.

After the SA20 mini-auction at the end of September, Conrad and his staff will have a better idea of who is available. There isn’t much to work with now. Even the SA A players who toured Sri Lanka in June, who are the next in line for Test cricket, would be punching way above their weight against Kane Williamson and the Black Caps in their backyard.

A number of those players have SA20 contracts, leaving Conrad an even smaller pool of players to pick from should CSA proceed with the New Zealand tour.

So many questions remain – who will form part of the bowling attack in New Zealand if Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortjé and Marco Jansen are forced to stay behind to compete in the SA20?

Looking at other teams around the world are doing things, it is as if they anticipated these scheduling clashes.

Take India for instance: they are touring the West Indies without Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammed Shami, and have filled these gaps with younger prospects in Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill.

This is because India can see that anything could happen in the future, and they need to use a series against a team like the West Indies to blood youngsters.

Now, all those years of coaches, players, fans and the media complaining about our domestic cricket will likely come back to bite the national team.

South Africa’s domestic cricket needs to be looked after properly to cater for these situations in the near future, especially with CSA determined to make a success of the SA20.