Shukri Conrad has got big plans for Tristan Stubbs in Proteas Test batting line-up

Proteas youngster Tristan Stubbs had a taste of Test match cricket against India at the start of the year. Picture: Rodger Bosch / AFP

Proteas youngster Tristan Stubbs had a taste of Test match cricket against India at the start of the year. Picture: Rodger Bosch / AFP

Published Jul 8, 2024


Proteas coach Shukri Conrad has confirmed that the hard-hitting Tristan Stubbs will get a run in the important, yet troublesome, No 3 position in the Test team’s batting line-up.

The position has been a problem for the Proteas for a while now, with no batter consistently putting up their hand since the great Hashim Amla retired from Tests.

After Amla played his final Test match — against Sri Lanka in February 2019, the Proteas have tried no less than eight players at first drop. That excludes left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj who came in as a night watchman in one of the Tests.

Zubayr Hamza, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Theunis de Bruyn, Heinrich Klaasen, Tony de Zorzi and Raynard van Tonder have all had a crack, but no-one has really performed on a regular basis to make the position their own.

During Conrad’s short tenure — three Test series — De Zorzi has been a constant, but he will move up to open the batting with Markram following Dean Elgar’s retirement. Van Tonder played there is a stop-gap option during the tour of New Zealand, when the Proteas’ senior players took part in the SA20 League earlier this year.

But now, with a Test series against the West Indies on the horizon, Conrad is going to give the young Stubbs the opportunity to make the position his own.

Stubbs has been regular in the Proteas’ white-ball teams over the last few years, and featured in all of the matches during the T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

Stubbs made his Proteas red-ball debut in the New Year’s Test match against India. The match lasted just 107 overs on a rather dodgy pitch, with Stubbs batting at No 4 and scoring three in the first innings and one in the second innings.

However, in his last first-class match for the Warriors, he hit 303 off 372 balls against the Tuskers. Admittedly, they are not the greatest opposition, but Stubbs was also promoted up to order on difficult pitches during the T20 World Cup, with Conrad saying the 23-year-old has the technique to succeed at No 3 in the Test side.

“As it stands right now, all things being equal and depending on the balance of the side we go with, it’s more than likely that Tristan Stubbs will bat at three for us,” said Conrad.

“That’s how highly I rate Tristan Stubbs. Technically he is one of the best around, and I think unfairly people have just seen him as a T20 or white-ball player.

“I know it’s different formats, but I look at the way he came in at the World Cup and imprinted himself on games. I think Tristan is a hell of a player, the type of cricketer that I want at the top of the order and I think he has all the makings of a top-class No 3 batsman.”

Conrad says he will be giving Stubbs a run at No 3 beyond the series against the West Indies, with Test matches against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan to come.

“I certainly wouldn’t be giving anybody something to do if I didn’t think they weren’t capable of doing it. I’m not hanging him out to dry,” Conrad said.

“We have eight Test matches and I’m going to give him a really great run. I think he is one for the future. Some might say it’s a big call, but I’m definitely not about throwing someone into the deep end if I didn’t think he was capable of handling it.”


IOL Sport