Cricket-South Africa hope new players hit the ground running

  • Cricket
  • Saturday, 09 Dec 2023

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - South Africa v England - Second T20 - Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban, South Africa - February 14, 2020 South Africa's Beuran Hendricks in action REUTERS/Rogan Ward/File Photo

(Reuters) - South Africa have several unfamiliar faces for the three-match Twenty20 International series with India that gets under way at Kingsmead on Sunday, but captain Aiden Markram says they will impose their attacking style ahead of next year's World Cup.

Having rested a number of leading players, the hosts have named batters Matthew Breetzke and Donovan Ferreira, and seamers Ottniel Baartman, Nandre Burger and Lizaad Williams in their squad for the series.

Beuran Hendricks, who has not played for the team in over two years, was also a late inclusion on Friday after regular Lungi Ngidi pulled out with injury.

"We have played a lot against the new faces (in domestic cricket), but I suppose you'd like to know them better on a deeper level before going into a series with them," Markram told reporters on Saturday.

"But we have had a few good days together getting to understand what gets them to tick.

"I suppose that is the nature of cricket nowadays, series come thick and fast and there will be stages where new guys come in and they are going to have to find their feet quickly."

The T20 World Cup will be held in the West Indies and United States from June 4-30 and there are few opportunities for South Africa in the shortest format between now and then, with most of their players involved in domestic T20 leagues in the first half of next year.

"There is a lot of cricket in between but not a lot of cricket for us as a team together," Markram said. "As long as the guys understand the way that we want to try play as a team and can keep that close to them when playing in different leagues and tournaments.

"Then hopefully by the time we meet up for the World Cup, the guys are used to that brand and how we want to operate as a team."

India's all-format tour will start with three T20 matches in Durban, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and Johannesburg from Sunday to Thursday.

They then switch format for three One-Day Internationals between Dec. 17-21, played in the latter two venues and Paarl.

The two-test series begins on Dec. 26 in Pretoria, with the second fixture on Jan. 3 at Newlands in Cape Town.

(Reporting by Nick Said; editing by David Evans)

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