Proteas can surprise friend and foe against Blackcaps

Henry

The test series against New Zealand can turn out in one of two ways for the new Protea players: They can either lose by a long way (as the prophets of doom have long predicted) or they can surprise friend and foe and perform well.

Captain Neil Brand has been persuaded to make the latter a reality when bats are crossed with the Kiwis tomorrow in the first test in Mount Maunganui.

A somewhat weakened Protea squad – which has to do without a host of stars such as Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj – will play against the Black Caps in a few tests from Sunday.

Only two of the players who triumphed in the recent Centurion Test against India traveled to New Zealand, the result of a decision by Cricket South Africa to prioritize the lucrative SA20 tournament.

Experience-wise, the entire Protea touring squad has only played 51 Tests between them. In contrast, the Blackcaps boast almost 500 tests.

“It is a huge opportunity for every dear player to stake his claim in the test group. There are many good players in our dressing room and I know that in a few months some of them will still be in the group,” said Brand.

In addition, South Africa does not simply lose a test series in New Zealand. Even when the team was bowled out for less than 100 runs in the first Test in the previous tour, the players were still able to fight back to share the series laurels.

“We can surprise a few people now. But it will be a tough series and we will have to play very well to dish out competitive cricket.”

The test starts at 00:00 on Sunday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

  • Groups:

South Africa: Neil Brand (captain), David Bedingham, Ruan de Swardt, Clyde Fortuin, Tshepo Moreki, Mihlali Mpongwana, Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Dane Piedt, Raynard van Tonder, Shaun von Berg, Khaya Zondo and Zubayr Hamza.

New Zealand: Tim Southee (captain), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson and Will Young.