In an unprecedented announcement, uncapped opener Neil Brand is set to captain a cobbled-together South Africa squad during their two-Test tour of New Zealand in February. This unique situation arises from a clash between the series and the SA20, with Cricket South Africa stating that cross-format players would be unavailable for international selection.
The current series against India, where the Proteas lead after a convincing victory over Rohit Sharma’s team at Centurion, features a vastly different squad compared to the one that will compete in New Zealand. Regular captain Temba Bavuma, along with key players such as Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, and others, will be absent as they participate in their home franchise competition.
The Test side suffered a setback as the prospective opening pair for the Bay Oval Test was disrupted. Tony de Zorzi’s unexpected signing with Durban Super Giants and Dean Elgar’s announcement of retiring from international cricket after the second India Test at Newlands reshaped the team dynamics.
The makeshift squad for the New Zealand series includes seven uncapped players, with Neil Brand leading the charge. Notably, South Africa’s renowned seam attack will be absent, and instead, the experienced duo of Dane Paterson and Duanne Olivier makes a return to the Test radar. Olivier, the most-capped player in the squad, last played a Test in April, while Paterson featured against England in January 2020.
South Africa Test Squad: Neil Brand (capt), David Bedingham, Ruan de Swardt, Clyde Fortuin, Zubayr Hamza, Tshepo Moreki, Mihlali Mpongwana, Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Dane Piedt, Raynard van Tonder, Shaun von Berg, Khaya Zondo.