Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

SA v ENG 2020 – Who’s In, Who’s Out – Part Two: South Africa

Posted on 25 November 2020 by Nakul Pande
Newlands cricket ground in Cape Town, South Africa, looking towards Table Mountain
Cape Town’s glorious Newlands Cricket Ground will host four of the six games of the South Africa v England tour. Credit: BadgerSwan, Flickr.

In Part One of our selection roundup of the imminent white-ball series between South Africa and England, we looked at the ins and outs for England.

Most of the recent news about the hosts has been about administrative chaos, but with the Proteas looking to move on from a golden generation, there’s still plenty to talk about in the on-field selections.

WHO’S IN

GEORGE LINDE

South African cricketer George Linde in national training gear including cap and singlet
Credit: BackpagePix

With next year’s men’s T20 World Cup scheduled for spin-friendly India, Linde is one of five spinners in South Africa’s 24-strong squad, and also offers power with the bat.

He went on South Africa’s trip to India that was split between autumn 2019 and spring 2020, and made his sole senior international appearance so far in the final Test of that tour.

His performances in the 2019/20 season earned him the South African Cricketers’ Association’s MVP Award.

JUNIOR DALA

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In the autumn of 2018, all was looking rosy for the skiddy seam bowler. He had made his international debut, had had a taste of the IPL, and was named one of the South African Cricket Annual’s Five Cricketers of the Year.

But a back injury cut short his 2018-9 season, then just as he was finding his form in 2019-20 he suffered a knee injury from which he has only just recovered.

He has taken 13 wickets in just 9 T20Is but has leaked runs, though this is not unusual for someone who does his best work in the closing stages of the innings – nobody in MSL 2019 took more wickets at the death.

 

GLENTON STUURMAN

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28-year-old Stuurman’s first national call-up meant his week ended far better than it had started – on Monday 2 November, he was withdrawn from the Warriors first-class squad because he had come into contact with someone with COVID-19.

He relies on accuracy and movement rather than pace and has had a long first-class career before getting national recognition, hence rather unhelpful comparisons to Vernon Philander.

But 178 first-class wickets in just 45 games at 21.03 will get people talking, and he is reputed to have a fine yorker.

WHO’S OUT

AIDEN MARKRAM

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It’s been a tough time for the golden boy of South African cricket. His captaincy of the first South African team to win an ICC tournament, the U19 World Cup team of 2014, raised expectations of a modern-day Graeme Smith.

But a poor 2019 World Cup saw him fall out of white-ball favour, and he is no longer a certainty for Test selection either.

While he retained his central contract, 2020-21 will be a big year for the man once heralded as the future of a cricketing nation in desperate need of a hero.

 

CHRIS MORRIS

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Those who’ve watched Morris’ economical performances for Royal Challengers Bangalore this IPL season might wonder how a struggling side can’t find room for the towering seamer in a 24 man squad.

He is though another casualty of the post-2019 World Cup refresh, and while his bowling is highly effective, his once-punishing hitting seems to have faded – he made only 34 runs in nine innings for RCB.

 

IMRAN TAHIR

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After another impressive Caribbean Premier League season, and after being the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2019, this IPL season brought Tahir back down to earth with a bump.

Even in a disintegrating Chennai Super Kings team, the now 41-year-old legspinner was only picked for three games when the season was effectively over, and only took one wicket.

It makes sense to give the next generation game-time at this stage, and a bilateral tour is unlikely to tell the selectors much new about Tahir, but write off his World Cup chances at your peril.

 

DALE STEYN

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Is the international career of perhaps the greatest fast bowler of all time finally over? Will we never again see that arms-pumping run-up, that leap, that explosion of menace through the crease, that enraged lumberjack celebration?

Steyn is now 37 years old. His shoulder is held together by sticky tape and witchcraft. And, following his retirement from Test cricket, he has no national contract.

We may yet see one last hurrah at next year’s T20 World Cup, but it is looking increasingly unlikely – and in truth, he has never been truly elite in the shortest format as he was in Test cricket.

When are the games and how do I watch?
You can watch every ball of the tour on Sky Sports, listen on TalkSport, or listen ad-free on Guerilla Cricket:

T20Is
Friday 27 November: 1st T20I, Newlands, Cape Town;
Match starts 4pm UK time, 6pm SA time
Sunday 29 November: 2nd T20I, Boland Park, Paarl;
Match starts 12:30pm UK time, 2:30pm SA time
Tuesday 1 December: 3rd T20I, Newlands, Cape Town;
Match starts 4pm UK time, 6pm SA time

ODIs
• Friday 4 December: 1st ODI, Newlands, Cape Town
Match starts 11am UK time, 1pm SA time
Sunday 6 December: 2nd ODI, Boland Park, Paarl
Match starts 8am UK time, 10am SA time
• Wednesday 9 December: 1st ODI, Newlands, Cape Town
Match starts 11am UK time, 1pm SA time