South Africa will go into this year’s T20 World Cup without experienced T20I specialists Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris besides Imran Tahir, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said on Thursday. Temba Bavuma will lead a 15-man squad which CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith said was “a new group of players, with new heroes to be made.”
The tournament will be played in the United Arab Emirates from October 23 to November 14. The T20I World Cup was last held in 2016 which was won by West Indies.
South Africa’s Director Graeme Smith Opens Up On Discussions About Free Agents- Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, And Faf du Plessis
Graeme Smith said talks had been held with 37-year-old Faf du Plessis but said it was not possible to reach an agreement with the former captain who is now regarded as a “free agent” as he is no longer contracted to CSA.
“When you are working with free agents you have to come together. You have to find that balance that works for both the team and the free agents,” said Smith.
“With Faf in particular we struggled to find that balance.”
Although Faf du Plessis retired from Test cricket last year he said he was available for white-ball cricket and stated that he wanted to play in the next two T20 World Cups. He confirmed before Thursday’s announcement he remained available for selection. Faf du Plessis underlined his credentials by hitting 120 off 60 balls in a Caribbean Premier League match for St Lucia Kings against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in Basseterre last Saturday.
Chris Morris, 34, signed a record US$2.2-million deal with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League earlier this year and is regarded as a leading T20 all-rounder. Chris Morris was sold to Rajasthan Royals for a whopping sum of INR 16.25 Cr & became the most expensive player bought in the IPL Auction history. He was the 2nd joint-highest wicket-taker in IPL 2021 before it was postponed with 14 scalps.
Graeme Smith said Chris Morris had made himself unavailable to play for South Africa after last representing the country in March 2019. Graeme Smith said veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir, 42, was another free agent whose participation had been discussed.
“He’s had a great run and he’s still being successful but we’re very confident in the spin bowlers we have available.”
Faf du Plessis made his T20I debut against England in 2012. Since then he has gone on to play fifty T20I matches for the Proteas and scored 1,528 runs at a strike rate of 134.39.
Another notable player to miss out from South Africa’s squad was Janneman Malan, who has scored 241 runs in 11 T20I matches with the highest score of 55 runs since making his debut against Pakistan in 2019. He has also scored 645 runs in 10 ODI matches for South Africa and has shined in domestic cricket as well.
Keshav Maharaj, Uncapped In T20Is Is Included In A Squad Led By Temba Bavuma
Temba Bavuma will captain a young side in the UAE – he is expected to recover from a thumb injury in time for the tournament – that also featured Keshav Maharaj, the left-arm spinner who is yet to play a T20I. Quinton de Kock, David Miller, and Kagiso Rabada are the only players in the squad who played in the 2016 World T20 in India.
The Proteas instead have gone in Wiaan Mulder and Dwaine Pretorious as all-around options. Meanwhile, George Linde, Andile Phehlikwayo, and Lizaad Williams will travel with the team as reserves.
Quinton de Kock and Henrich Klaasen are the two wicket-keeping options while David Miller, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram are quality options with the bat. South Africa has gone with a strong pace attack and included Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Lungi Ngidi while Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are the two specialists spinners.
Squad: Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.
Travelling reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams.