5 crucial South Africa players in the Test series vs West Indies | 5 key South Africa players to watch out for in the Test series against West Indies
To the delight of all cricket lovers around the globe, cricket in the Caribbean Islands is back as South Africa are going to face the West Indies in the Test series starting Thursday.
West Indies have been fabulous at home and it really will need a monumental effort from the South Africans to defeat them in their own den. There are certain players whose performance will define the fate of the visiting side in the series. In this article, I am going to mention five such key South African players to watch out for in this series. Here we go.
Rassie van der Dussen
You might be surprised to see this name in this list, but I am really a big admirer of Rassie van der Dussen and I really have high hopes from him in this series. He has amazed all of us in limited overs cricket and he played 3 good knocks of 51, 68 and 98 against a top-class English bowling attack in Centurion, Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively in his debut Test series as well.
As far as what I have observed, he is definitely a good player of pace and bounce. If he tackles the movement well in the West Indies, then I don’t see any reason of him failing in this series. He has the calibre and the selectors have showed faith in him by persisting with him ahead of promising young guys like Raynard van Tonder. So it’s high time that Rassie proves himself in the longest format of the game.
Bavuma is one of the most senior players of the touring South African side. The middle order of this South African team is a bit inexperienced and therefore the role of Temba Bavuma becomes much more significant. Talking about his current form, Bavuma had two superb consecutive series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan recently. He scored 252 runs in 6 innings at an excellent average of 50.4 in both the series combined. He is supposed to act like a glue and prevent the South African middle order from destruction by the fiery fast bowling line up of the West Indies.
If I ask who the most stylish batsman in the current South African team is, then most probably you would answer Aiden Markram. Markram is definitely one of those gorgeous batsmen in world cricket right now. He is rightly said to be the future of South African cricket.
Markram has done much better in Tests than ODIs. He is technically solid and will play a key role against the new ball at the top for South Africa in this series. Talking about his current form, he had fabulous outings in both of the recent series played by South Africa against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. He amassed 336 runs with the help of one century and two half centuries at a splendid average of 56 in both the series combined. So it is quite evident that he has been in good touch this year and I expect him to maintain his rhythm in this series, especially considering South Africa need him to remain consistent as the captaincy is surely not too far away for him.
Dean Elgar belongs to the rare breed of “old school Test batsman” in an otherwise dynamic batting lineup of South Africa consisting of guys like Markram, Dussen and de Kock. He has the image of a tough, gritty bloke in the international circuit and has proved himself time and again by scoring vital runs against quality opponents on challenging tracks.
Against a good bowling attack of the West Indies, his role at the top will be to blunt the new ball and make the path easier for the middle order. I expect him to hold the South African batting lineup with his utmost determination. Recently, he had a fantastic series against Sri Lanka at home as he smashed 253 runs at a Bradmanesque average of 126.50. Also, he has been given the duty of captaincy. So, his role is going to be extremely crucial for the Proteas both as a batsman and a leader.
South Africa are touring the West Indies after more than a decade with a completely new squad. Although their fast bowlers other than Rabada have the skill set, they lack experience. Rabada brings the experience into the table with him and we all know what he is capable of. He is the best South African seamer and I expect him to be the leader of their bowling attack. Although he hasn’t been at his best for quite a while, I believe he will enjoy bowling on the West Indian decks. His performance will be a key determinant of how the South Africans perform with the ball as a unit.
This is my list of five South African players whose performance will determine the fate of the Proteas in this series. Have your say!
Written by Debashish Sarangi. Follow Debashish on Twitter today.