Proteas out to pick up speed with Tour of West Indies ahead of World Cup

DOLPHINS’ Ottniel Baartman among the new faces hoping to get international exposure with the Proteas Tour of West Indies. | BackpagePix

DOLPHINS’ Ottniel Baartman among the new faces hoping to get international exposure with the Proteas Tour of West Indies. | BackpagePix

Published May 19, 2024



THE PROTEAS tour to the West Indies might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. With just over two weeks before they face Sri Lanka in a T20 World Cup opener on June 3, South Africa will face the former champions and hosts, West Indies, in preparation for the global showpiece.

The chance to learn about the conditions will be very useful to Proteas coach Rob Walter, but the task to do what no other coach has done before – win a major trophy – will again take centre stage as yet another opportunity presents itself for South Africa to break their duck in ICC World Cup events.

Indian Premier League (IPL) trio of Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Gerald Coetzee will get a chance to gel in with some of their World Cup teammates who will take part in the three-match T20 series in the Caribbean, following their franchises’ failure to make the play-off. For De Kock and Nortje, this will do them a lot of good as they arrive from the IPL on the back of poor form and lack of game time.

Rassie van der Dussen will lead a side with a good mix of youth and experience. A player like Ottniel Baartman will get international exposure and get up to speed before the World Cup, and for a player like Tristan Stubbs, this could be the ideal time for him to put his foot down and take his deserved place among the world’s best following his successful IPL stint with the Delhi Capitals.

It has however not been one of the best IPLs for some of South Africa’s key players heading into the World Cup. Walter has noted this, but feels it does not have too much impact on those involved as they know what is expected of them.

“(Taking out) Tristan Stubbs’ performances and Heinrich Klaasen’s for the first half of the IPL, I definitely hope those two haven’t used up all their runs. I know the guys are working incredibly hard,” said Walter.

“I would’ve loved for them to be playing competitively but there is a plus sign to not playing all 14 games of the IPL because it can be draining. We’re also dealing, for the most part, with highly experienced guys and I trust they will hit the ground running (in the World Cup).”

On paper, the Proteas will go into the tournament with one of the most talented and hard-hitting middle orders in the game currently. Not only the middle order but the rest of the squad tick all the boxes and the biggest question will be ‘can they go across the line this time?’

The series against West Indies will be crucial, not only for positions in the side and trying out combinations, but it’s a chance to put your foot down against one of the best sides in the format in their own back yard and to carry the confidence into the tournament.