Galvanised Proteas Set For Crucial England Series

Galvanised Proteas Set For Crucial England Series

BLOEMFONTEIN: Proteas captain Temba Bavuma says the difficulties experienced by South Africa in recent months have brought them together and left them even more determined as they prepare to take on England in their three-match Betway One-Day International (ODI) series starting in Bloemfontein on Friday.

The hosts enter the series with their automatic World Cup qualification on the line as they aim to avoid a potential mid-year assignment with a positive outcome against the tourists.

The South Africans are presently 11th on the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League table, but a strong series could put them on the cusp of reaching the World Cup that takes place in India later in the year when their only other matches are a pair of games against bottom side the Netherlands.

However, a poor series against the English could lead to Bavuma and his charges having to play in a qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe. Either way, the captain is hoping they can  make a good impression against reigning world champions England.

“We obviously know where we stand in terms of how many points and how many games we need to win out of the remaining matches,” the skipper told the media at the Mangaung Oval on the eve of the series. “Like always, we go out there to win every game and we’re prepared for that.

“But we’d like to shift the focus a little bit building up the World Cup. I think there’s an opportunity for us to really clear up our identity and how we’d like to play. We’d like to use these games as an opportunity to do that. You might see some new faces within the team, you might see guys come into different roles, but we’d really like to use the opportunity positively as we try to win the games.

“Everyone knows what they need to do and should it happen that in June and July we are playing in the qualifiers then that’s what we’re prepared to do. It’s something everyone was prepared to do looking back at the decision that was made a couple of months ago to make way for the SA20. So those are cards in front of us and we’ll deal with it as best as we can.”

His reference to the SA20 is the country’s new T20 domestic league that launched with a bang earlier this month. The series is taking place right in the middle of the inaugural season of the competition, meaning there has been little preparation time for the Proteas.

Most of the players, together with most of England’s squad, have been competing in the league and the players have joined their national ranks straight from their franchises this week.

“It is unique circumstances we find ourselves in, we usually have a couple more days before a series,” Bavuma said. “That being said, those are the circumstances we find ourselves in. Both teams I think are experienced enough to prepare as well as they can for what lies ahead.

“For us, we have had our challenges and I think those challenges in a lot of moments have brought us together, have made us a lot stronger as a unit and have strengthened our character. We’ll definitely be pulling on that and we’ll want to obviously show up in the next few games.”

England have already qualified for the 50-over World Cup that takes place in October and November. However, their strong team make them a formidable challenge for Bavuma and his side.

“It will be really big for us if we can beat England,” the captain added. “Big for our confidence and momentum. We know against England that we’re going to be tested in all departments, batting, bowling and fielding, so there is no better opportunity for us to test our skills.”

The Proteas will be led by caretaker coach Shukri Conrad for the series. The 55-year-old was earlier this month appointed as South Africa’s new red-ball coach, but is taking charge of the team in the interim, before New Zealand-based Rob Walter arrives in the country next month.

Proteas ODI squad against England

Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Marco Jansen (Dafabet Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Sisanda Magala (DP World Lions), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Janneman Malan (Gbets Rocks), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Dafabet Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (DP World Lions).

Betway ODI Series against England

Friday, 27 January – 13:00

South Africa vs England – Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein

Sunday, 29 January – 10:00

South Africa vs England – Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein

Wednesday, 01 February – 13:00

South Africa vs England – The Oval, Kimberley



Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications


Cricket South Africa (CSA), an affiliate of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is the national governing body for the sport of cricket in South Africa and administers all aspects of South African cricket, men and women, both in the professional and amateur spheres.