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South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
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South Africa T20I World Cup Squad 2021, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

South Africa, who hasn’t won a World Cup before and is labelled chokers for failure to perform in the knockout matches, is placed in Group 1 in the marquee event- 2021 T20I World Cup alongside heavyweights Australia, England, and West Indies. Notably, among the aforementioned four already qualified teams in the group, the Proteas team is the weakest. South Africa has witnessed a significant downfall in international cricket recently.

They are currently placed on the 5th spot in the latest ICC T20 Internationals rankings. Also, in the last 5 T20 international series, they have lost three series. Notably, they have several good promising players on the team who are match winners. However, they have been unable to fire together as a team.

South Africa Image source: Twitter
South Africa Image source: Twitter

South Africa Has Some Exceptional Talented Players In The Likes Of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi

The South Africa management will hope things change before the forthcoming T20 World Cup 2021 despite star batsman AB de Villiers’ absence, who decided not to return from retirement.

They have some exceptionally talented players in the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassi Van Der Dussen, David Miller, and others on the team. If the players are in good form, they can surely give tough competition to other teams. Notably, South Africa recently faced Sri Lanka in the T20I series, and they earned an amazing series victory by 3-0.

Tabraiz Shamsi
Tabraiz Shamsi. Image Credits: Twitter

So far, South Africa has yet to win a single T20 World Cup trophy and ODI World Cup. Also, they never made it to the finals of the T20 World Cup tournament. Meanwhile, this time under the leadership of Temba Bavuma, the Proteas team will be hoping for a better outcome in the T20 World Cup 2021.

South Africa’s Squad For The Upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021: Notable Omissions And Inclusions

The squad did not feature all-rounder Chris Morris, former captain Faf du Plessis, and veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir. In particular, Imran Tahir and Faf du Plessis had retired from other forms of the game, with one eye on playing in the upcoming World Cup.Imran Tahir and Faf du Plessis plays for CSK in IPL, while Chris Morris became the most expensive acquisition after Rajasthan Royals bought him for Rs. 16.25 crores in IPL 2021 auctions.Temba Bavuma will captain a young side in the UAE as 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.

Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris
Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris-Image AP

South Africa is well stocked in the spin department, with spinner Keshav Maharaj being joined by World’s No. 1 spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin as specialist spinners.

In addition, keeper Quinton de Kock, opener Aidem Markram, keeper Heinrich Klaasen, and middle-order batsman David Miller form part of an experienced batting line-up. The Proteas also boast a fearsome fast-bowling line-up featuring Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Anrich Nortje.

Quinton de Kock, David Miller, and Kagiso Rabada are the only players in the squad who participated in the 2016 World T20 in India. The Proteas have gone in Wiaan Mulder and Dwaine Pretorious as all-around options. Meanwhile, the trio of 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 present in the team, while David Miller, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram are quality options with the bat. South Africa has a strong pace attack and included Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Lungi Ngidi, while Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are the two specialist spinners. 

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.

Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, W Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen; Reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams

The complete schedule of South Africa for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021:

Saturday, October 23, 2021: vs Australia, at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, in Abu Dhabi. (3:30 PM IST)

Tuesday, October 26, 2021: vs West Indies, at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai. (3:30 PM IST)

Saturday, October 30, 2021: vs Qualifier (A1) Sharjah Cricket Stadium, in Sharjah. (3:30 PM IST)

Tuesday, November 2, 2021: vs Qualifier (B2), at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, in Abu Dhabi. (3:30 PM IST)

Saturday, November 6, 2021: vs England, at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, in Abu Dhabi. (7:30 PM IST)

Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
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ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

ICC T20I World Cup 2021 is just a month away from taking place after a gap of five years and the excitement for the tournament in UAE is at its’ peak already. The previous edition took place in 2016 when West Indies emerged as the champions and this will be a 12 team affair this time around for the group stages.

The top eight teams from the T20 international rankings qualified automatically for the league stages of the T20 Worldcup while the remaining four teams will have to make it through the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 qualifiers. Surprisingly, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh haven’t been able to make it to the league stages and are placed in the qualifiers. Here are 4 teams that won’t be able to qualify for the semi-finals of ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Probably Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

Australia:

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty

Australia is one of the powerhouses in world cricket at present for a long time now and they still continue to dominate best teams but haven’t been doing it on a consistent basis. But recent losses to West Indies and Bangladesh with a depleted squad saw their reputation diminish.

When it comes to T20 cricket, Australia hasn’t always been the team to watch out for as they do have a lot of stars in their lineup but despite that, they have lacked the T20 flavour. 2010 was the only year they reached the finals of the ICC T20I World Cup and they lost to England.

Australia’s recent form in T20I hasn’t been impressive either as they lost the T20I series in West Indies 4-1 and lost a bilateral series for the first time against Bangladesh which wasn’t the ideal preparation they needed. Australia has been placed in a strong group comprising of England, West Indies, and South Africa and their chances of making it to the semifinals look bleak at the moment.

Australia has lost the last 5 T20I series they have played against New Zealand, India, England, West Indies, and Bangladesh. With the return of big names like David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, and Pat Cummins the Aaron Finch-led side will be looking forward to gaining back the momentum.

South Africa:

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )

South Africa has lacked the edge needed in the knockouts to progress to the finals of the tournament and it has been evident through their results so far in ICC events. They haven’t made it to a final in ICC T20 World Cup yet and have been succumbing down when it comes to pressure games for which they are labelled chokers.

The Proteas are a different looking side now without AB De Villiers and Faf du Plessis, and their new skipper Temba Bavuma will have a huge responsibility under his belt for the T20I World Cup. Their bowling attack does look good but they are expected to struggle with their inexperienced batting lineup and are unlikely to progress to the semi-finals after being placed in a tough group.

They are currently placed on the 5th spot in ICC T20 Internationals rankings. Also in the last 5 T20 international series, they have lost 3 series. They have some exceptionally talented players like Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassi Van Der Dussen, and David Miller on the team but have left out experienced Chris Morris, Faf du Plessis, and Imran Tahir.

Afghanistan :

Afghanistan
Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been one of the teams that have come from far behind in terms of development and the results are there to see as well. They have produced a lot of young match winners already and the best example is Rashid Khan who has been the best spinner in the world in the last two years globally.

Afghanistan has picked up a good squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 but they have a lot of issues going on with the Taliban government and it will certainly take a toll on their performance. They have gone in for experience in the fast bowling department and Rashid Khan has stepped out as the captain of the side as well for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021. With India and New Zealand in the group, Afghanistan might not be able to progress to the semi-finals.

Currently, Afghanistan is placed on the 7th spot in the ICC T20 international rankings. Once the team enters the tournament all eyes will be on big names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 world cup 2021. Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy. Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team.

Pakistan:

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan is looking like a better group in the last few international series and with the change in the coaching staff and the Director, a lot could change for the Pakistan side ahead of the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

However, their recent performances haven’t been up to the mark especially in England and they still have holes to fill inside the group. Lead by captain Babar Azam, Pakistan will kickstart their ICC T20I World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-rivals India in Dubai on 24 October.

They will then face New Zealand in Sharjah on 26 October before returning to Dubai to take on Afghanistan. Their last two matches in the Super 12 stages will see them face runners-up of Group A and table-toppers of Group B from Round 1 in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah respectively.

Their middle order needed some solid experience and they have gone in for youngsters who had failed earlier. Their fast bowling and spin department don’t look bad either but they still do not like getting past New Zealand and India who have strong depth in their squads for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Pakistan chose youth over experience for the backup wicketkeeper spot with the inclusion of Azam Khan over Sarfaraz Ahmed. Azam Khan has featured in only three T20Is in his career and has aggregated only six runs in two innings but his exploits in domestic T20 competitions has helped him seal a berth in the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah were among the surprise inclusions in the squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 World Cup, having last played a T20I for Pakistan earlier this year against Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively.

They did not find a place in the squad for the tours of England and the West Indies. The experienced campaigners Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, and Sarfaraz Ahmed surprisingly didn’t find a place in ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
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South Africa’s Free Agents Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris And Imran Tahir Left Out Of 15-Member Squad For 2021 T20I World Cup

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 of Cricket, Graeme Smith Image Source : ICC
South Africa’s Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith – Image Source: ICC

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.

 Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris
Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris-Image AP

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.

Temba Bavuma Source: twitter
Temba Bavuma Source: Twitter

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.

Tabraiz Shamsi
Tabraiz Shamsi. Image Credits: Twitter
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Tabraiz Shamsi Looking To Gather Some Inside Information About UAE Pitches While Playing IPL Before T20I World Cup

Tabraiz Shamsi, a South African spinner said he is looking to gather some “inside information” about the UAE pitches before he returns to the country for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Tabraiz Shamsi, the world number one ranked T20I bowler in ICC rankings, will be joining the Rajasthan Royals squad as a replacement for Australian pacer Andrew Tye for the remainder of IPL scheduled to be held in the UAE from September 19.

Tabraiz Shamsi takes off on a celebratory run AFP/Getty Images
Tabraiz Shamsi takes off on a celebratory run AFP/Getty Images

Tabraiz Shamsi Excited To Play IPL 2021

Rajasthan Royals have announced that they have signed Tabraiz Shamsi, the World’s No.1 ranked bowler in T20Is, for the second phase of the Indian Premier League to be played in the UAE. Tabraiz Shamsi will replace Australian fast bowler Andrew Tye, who has pulled out of the league owing to personal reasons.

Andrew Tye said that he had to be away from home for a long time this year and hence opted out of the Rajasthan Royals squad for the remainder of the IPL. He added that he was disappointed at having not been able to make it to the Australian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m not excited about (IPL). I am very excited. Especially because I’ve never played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Shamsi was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“The IPL is a different thing. I have played in the past but I was a lot younger and I didn’t get a lot of game time regularly. When you get regular game time, you can showcase what you can do. You can improve.”

Andrew Tye
Andrew Tye Photo: BCCI

Tabraiz Shamsi had earlier played four IPL matches in which he picked up three wickets for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who had recruited him as a replacement player during the 2016 season.

“…I’m really happy I got picked up in the IPL because I’ve never been there and played there,” said Shamsi, who has since picked up 45 wickets in 39 T20Is, along with 32 wickets in 27 ODIs for South Africa.

“It will be nice if I can play on those pitches and get some inside information and gain some experience; just to be able to pick up some knowledge and information that might help us in the World Cup.”

However, he has been very good in T20Is recently, the reason Rajasthan picked him in their squad. Not to mention Tabraiz Shamsi could come in quite handy on UAE pitches. This 31-year-old spinner has picked 45 wickets in 39 T20 Internationals an economy rate of 6.80.

The Purple Cap winner of IPL 2018, Andrew Tye only played 6 matches for Punjab Kings(then KXIP) in 2019. He moved to RR at his base price of Rs 1 crore. He only played one match in IPL 2020 in UAE. He went for 50 runs and scalped one wicket in the fixture and despite that fact, he was retained by the franchise.

Tabraiz Shamsi: South Africa May Be Inexperienced But Have The Requisite Skill To Do Well In 2021 World Cup

The 31-year-old left-arm spinner feels South Africa will do well at the T20 World Cup, considering their strong bowling attack.

“…I believe we have one of the best bowling attacks in the world. All we need is a bit of game time. I’m not saying that because we’ve won a couple of series back-to-back. The talent in the squad is there,” he said.

“We might be inexperienced at the international level but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have the skill. We showcased that against a very strong West Indies team, and against Ireland.”
South Africa
South Africa. (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)
“Nobody here wants to lose and I know the people back home don’t want to see us losing. So we’re pushing it. We just need a bit more time together. The more we play together the better we’re going to get.”

He has been in great form this year and has already claimed 24 wickets in 14 T20 matches. The economic rate, this year, is just 5.32. The second phase of IPL 2021 will start in the UAE on September 19. Rajasthan Royals will resume their campaign against the Punjab Kings on September 21 in Dubai. The side will be without the services of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Jos Buttler and will start their campaign placed 5th with 3 wins in 7 matches.

Kagiso Rabada and AB de Villiers
Kagiso Rabada and AB de Villiers
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AB de Villiers Never Wanted Kagiso Rabada To Be Dropped From Team

AB de Villiers, former South African captain has refuted allegations suggesting he asked for Kagiso Rabada to be dropped from the team, along racial lines, at the start of the pacer’s career.

Responding to testimony given by former national selector Hussein Manack at Cricket South Africa‘s (CSA) Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings, AB de Villiers said that his inputs into the selection were in “the best interests of the team.”

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. Image Credits: Twitter

AB de Villiers Never Wanted Kagiso Rabada To Be Dropped From Team

AB de Villiers has played 114 Tests scoring 8765 runs averaging 50.66 and 228 ODIs scoring 9577 runs averaging 53.5. He also featured in 78 T20Is where he averaged a modest 26.12. AB de Villiers clarified that he never wanted Kagiso Rabada to be dropped. He added that it would be ridiculous to do something like that, given that the 26-year-old bowler is one of the best in the business.

“I have never wanted KG dropped from any team at any time,” he said. “The idea is ridiculous. He is one of the finest bowlers in world cricket,” said AB de Villiers.

Kagiso Rabada vs West Indies
Kagiso Rabada vs West Indies-AFP/Getty Images

Former South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers denied the allegations against him that he wanted Kagiso Rabada dropped from the national team at the start of the latter’s career. AB de Villiers, who was the skipper of the side when the speedster came to the fore, said that his inputs were for the ‘best interests of the team’.

AB de Villiers: A Decision Had To Be Made Between Playing Kyle Abbott And Hardus Viljoen, So The Team Management Insisted Dropping Kagiso Rabada

This is the first time Kagiso Rabada’s case has been out in public. It centers around the Wanderers Test against England in 2015-16. Hussein Manack claimed the team management (when AB de Villiers was the captain) didn’t want Kagiso Rabada to play in the game.

Elaborating on the incident, he said: “I had been to the practice the day before, and a decision had to be made between playing Kyle Abbott and Hardus Viljoen,” said Manack, who was selector then. “A discussion at practice took place, and they [the team management] said we must drop KG [Rabada].”

“I asked on what basis. Rabada was 20-years-old, and he hadn’t established himself as a great player. But having seen him at the Lions, where he was coming through, I had seen a lot of him. He had a good enough reputation. There was a cricketing explanation that maybe the ball wasn’t coming out of his hand right,” added the former selector.

“I took it back to [bowling coach] Charl Langeveldt and … Charl’s view was that he was comfortable and everybody on the selection panel was unanimous that Rabada had to play. I said our decision is that Rabada has to play.

“There was one more spot that had to be filled. We said between Abbott and Viljoen, you decide who you want. We don’t have a strong view either way. In the end, they went for Viljoen and they weren’t happy with the fact that we had stood our ground,” claimed Manack.

Questions have arisen over Kagiso Rabada's inclusion in South Africa's XI for the Wanderers Test against England in 2015-16 Getty Images
Questions have arisen over Kagiso Rabada’s inclusion in South Africa’s XI for the Wanderers Test against England in 2015-16 Getty Images

During his testimony, Hussain Manack spoke about AB de Villiers’ role in the entire case on Khaya Zondo when the latter didn’t get to play a single game on the 2015 tour of India. However, the saga surrounding Kagiso Rabada during the 2015-16 Wanderers, wasn’t made public before. Kagiso Rabada went on to pick up a five-wicket haul in that game, followed by a career-best 13/144 in the next game.

Six years since his debut, Kagiso Rabada is one of the prolific wicket-takers for South Africa in all three formats. The speedster has picked up 213, 122, and 96 wickets in 47 Tests, 79 ODIs, and 32 T20Is respectively. He has also scored over 1,000 runs in his international career for South Africa.

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South Africa Confirms A White-Ball Tour Of Sri Lanka From September 2-14

South Africa has confirmed a white-ball tour of Sri Lanka from September 2-14 in which the teams will contest three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.

It is the shorter format games that will be of most interest to both sides with the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman starting just over a month later.

South Africa vs Sri Lanka
South Africa vs Sri Lanka (Gallo Images)

South Africa Confirms A White Ball Sri Lankan Tour Comprising 3 ODIs And 3 T20Is

Sri Lankan Cricket has confirmed that Sri Lanka will host South Africa for a white-ball series, starting 2 September. The teams will lock horns in three ODIs and as many T20Is.

“Playing against quality opposition in the sub-continent is the best way for our team to prepare for this event and we are grateful to Sri Lanka Cricket for accommodating us during this time of the year where schedules are highly condensed,” Cricket South Africa Acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki said in a media release on Friday.

South Africa vs Sri Lanka
South Africa vs Sri Lanka. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The tour will consist of three ODIs and three T20Is, all to be played at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo. The three ODIs will be played on September 2,4 and 7, and the T20Is will be played on September 10, 12, and 14.

South Africa Versus Sri Lanka Will Be The Former’s First White Ball Series In Sri Lanka Since 2018

The series will end five days before the resumption of the second phase of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. This will be South Africa’s first white-ball series in Sri Lanka since 2018 when it won the five-match ODI series 3-2 and lost the one-off T20. Both series will be played at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo.

Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella are two of three cricketers to be penalised AFP/Getty Images
Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella are two of three cricketers to be penalized AFP/Getty Images

It is noteworthy that the Sri Lankan team would continue to miss the services of Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and Niroshan Dickwella who have been suspended following the bio-bubble breach during Sri Lanka’s tour of England.

While the recommendations have mentioned that Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka should be suspended for two full years from international cricket, and Niroshan Dickwella should be suspended for a period of 18 months, a final decision on their ban is yet to be announced.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn
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Dale Steyn Wants To Play The Mind Games With Virat Kohli To Get The Better Of Him

Dale Steyn revealed his plan of bowling to India captain Virat Kohli. The battle between Dale Steyn and Virat Kohli is a much-awaited contest we have seen a few times in the recent past, but it was during a time when Dale Steyn was at the peak of his bowling prowess while Virat Kohli was a young and promising youngster on the fast track to becoming world’s best batsman.

Today, things have changed. Dale Steyn is on the final leg of his career having already retired from Test cricket, while Virat Kohli has established himself as one of the best batsmen of the modern era.

The sight of South African pacer Dale Steyn in his peak bowling to Virat Kohli today would have made for fascinating viewing. Having said that, if it were to happen, or if Dale Steyn is to still play a few more matches for his side South Africa and come across Virat Kohli in an ODI or T20I, it would be entertaining to watch for the spectators. Well, the South Africa fast bowler has the answer as he revealed his plan of bowling to India captain Virat Kohli.

“You’ve got to play the mind games with Virat. I would look at putting somebody in at short leg. I would let him know that I’m going to come at him, come at his body, want to come quickly at him. And I’d want him to try and pull because I feel like that’s his B game,” Steyn told Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNCricinfo ahead of the start of the World Test Championship final in Southampton.

Dale Steyn with Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL
Dale Steyn with Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL (BCCI Photo)
 “Even though he does it really well, I’d want him to think that’s where I’m going to bowl, and then get it up there because I like to swing the ball, I like to move the ball. Look for those three modes of dismissals, LBW, bowled and the caught behind.”
Dale Steyn had retired from Test cricket after taking 439 scalps from 93 Tests averaging 22.95. He also has 196 ODI scalps and 64 T20I scalps besides his name. He had also taken 97 scalps from 95 IPL matches playing many games for Royal Challengers Bangalore besides skipper Virat Kohli. He has played 33 matches for RCB taking 32 scalps.

Dale Steyn Would Want Virat Kohli To Think He Will Bowl Short But He’ll Probably Bowl 6 Full Balls To Him

Dale Steyn explained his plan further, highlighting how he would aim to cash in on the initial uncertainty of the batsman as he will try to find his feet initially.  The South Africa fast bowler stressed the need to make the batsman believe that he’s being set up for a short ball while the reality would be something totally different.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn Photograph: Christiaan Kotze/AFP/Getty Images

“I’ll probably try to get him to nick every single ball but I’ll be telling him, ‘it’s coming… I’m going to hit you in the head you know’. I’m not going to swear at him but let him know that that short leg is in business.”

Dale Steyn did retire from Test cricket in August 2019, finishing his career in the longest format with 439 wickets at an outstanding average of 22.95. However, he has continued to play for the Proteas in the T20I format; his most recent international appearance came in a T20I against Australia in February 2020.

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Faf du Plessis Compares Captaincy Styles Of Sarfaraz Ahmed, MS Dhoni And Virat Kohli

Faf du Plessis compared the captaincy styles of Sarfaraz Ahmed, MS Dhoni, and the current India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli.

It wasn’t too long ago that Faf du Plessis was on a run-scoring spree for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2021. With 320 runs from seven matches, he had peeled off four consecutive half-centuries for CSK before the tournament came to halt. Now, as he gets ready to play in the Pakistan Super League, his team Quetta Gladiators would be hoping the former South Africa captain to bat in the same groove as he did in the IPL.

Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)
Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)

Faf du Plessis Always Enjoyed Playing Under Different Leaders

From playing under MS Dhoni in the IPL, Faf du Plessis will now be playing in the leadership of former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Ahead of the resumption of the sixth season of the PSL from June 9, the opener sat down for an interview with Cricket Pakistan where he compared the captaincy styles of Sarfaraz Ahmed, MS Dhoni, and current India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli.

“Quite different… MS is quiet and reserved, does most of his things instinctively on the field. Sarfaraz is the opposite… almost like Virat. Always talking to the players, always to the bowlers, always very passionate about how he captains his team, and he shows it. So, there is no right and wrong way. These are just two different styles,” du Plessis said.

Virat Kohli, Sarfaraz Ahmed and MS Dhoni. (Getty Images)
Virat Kohli, Sarfaraz Ahmed, and MS Dhoni. (Getty Images)

The Quetta Gladiators had a tough time in PSL 2021 before the tournament was suspended over bio-bubble breaches, with four losses in five matches. The Quetta Gladiators began PSL 2021 with a seven-wicket defeat to the Karachi Kings. They subsequently also lost to the Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, and Islamabad United before opening their account with a win over the Multan Sultans.

Faf du Plessis Pretty Passionate About Leadership Himself

Faf du Plessis had a reasonable record as the captain himself. He led South Africa in 36 Tests, winning 18 and losing 15. In the 76 matches (T20Is and ODIs combined) under Faf du Plessis, South Africa won 51 and lost 23 games. At Quetta Gladiators, even though Sarfaraz Ahmed will be leading the team, Faf du Plessis is more than happy to give his inputs if and when needed.

“He’s obviously been captain of Pakistan and has got the best out of players. I’ve always enjoyed playing under different leaders just to see how they go about their business because I also am pretty passionate about leadership myself so it’s nice for me to be able to see how he does things and offer my inputs if he wants to take it,” added du Plessis.

Faf du Plessis Photo: IOL
Faf du Plessis Photo: IOL

Faf du Plessis continued from where he left in the UAE in 2020 scoring 320 runs in 7 matches at a strike rate of 145.45 including 4 fifties. He had scored 449 runs averaging 40.81 in 13 games and was the top run-getter for CSK in their otherwise dismal season where they failed to qualify for playoffs for the first time in the IPL history.

Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis, with 13 sixes each, have cleared the ropes on most occasions for CSK in IPL 2021. They are closely followed by Moeen Ali, who has hit 12 maximums thus far. This is in sharp contrast to IPL 2020 where the 14 sixes hit by Faf du Plessis, the most by a CSK batsman, came in almost double the matches.

South African star Faf du Plessis would be up in the second session of the sixth edition of the PSL. The resumed session of PSL 2021 would be taking place in Abu Dhabi instead of Pakistan due to the COVID-19 situation.

Ab de Villiers
Ab de Villiers.
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Mark Boucher Respects AB de Villiers’ Decision To Stay Retired From Int’l Cricket

Mark Boucher, South Africa coach has explained the reason behind AB de Villiers’ decision to stay retired from international cricket.

Fans of AB de Villiers will feel disappointed as Cricket South Africa confirmed that the former South Africa captain would be sticking to his decision to stay retired.

Mark Boucher @Twitter
Mark Boucher @Twitter

Mark Boucher Agrees That AB De Villiers Is Still One Of The Best T20 Players But Respects His Decision To Stay Retired

Having announced his retirement from international cricket in 2018, speculation about AB de Villiers making an international return for the T20 World Cup later this year has been doing the rounds. In fact, SA coach Mark Boucher had hinted several times in the past that he could be in the mix for South Africa for the ICC event.

However, a day after CSA broke the news that AB de Villiers would in fact remain retired, Mark Boucher has explained the reason behind the decision. Acknowledging that the veteran batsman is still probably the best T20 player in the world, Mark Boucher called the development unfortunate but understood where AB de Villiers is coming from.

“AB has his reasons, which I respect. Unfortunately, he’s no longer in the mix. I say unfortunately because I think we all agree that he’s still one of the best – if not the best – T20 players in world cricket,” Boucher told The Citizen.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. Image Credits: Twitter

“But he alluded to being concerned about coming in ahead of other players who have been a part of the system. I don’t think it sat well with him, which I understand.”

It was during the 2019 World Cup that the idea of AB de Villiers’ potential return first floated. In a staggering revelation, former SA captain Faf du Plessis had announced that AB de Villiers had offered to come out of retirement but his request was turned down keeping the hard work of other players in mind.

Mark Boucher Respects AB De Villiers Decision To Stay Retired

South Africa performed awfully in the 2019 World Cup, becoming the second team after Afghanistan to be knocked out. With a fresh World Cup awaiting albeit in a T20 format, Mark Boucher feels it is best everyone moved on from the AB de Villiers saga.

“As a coach I needed to try and get our best players, for the team and the environment. AB is an energy booster in any environment, but I respect his reasoning. It was worth a go, but now let’s move forward,” Boucher pointed out.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers (Image Credit: Twitter)

AB de Villiers has time and again played a key role for Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) where he has demolished the best bowlers in the tournament with his entertaining knocks. Even in IPL 2021, he scored 207 runs in 7 matches at an impressive average of 51.75.

AB De Villiers has played 114 Tests scoring 8765 runs averaging 50.66 and 228 ODIs scoring 9577 runs averaging 53.5. He also featured in 78 T20Is where he averaged a modest 26.12. In 176 IPL matches, he has 5056 runs averaging 40.77 and is 6th among the leading run-scorers in IPL history.

Quinton de Kock Handed Over South Africa's Test Captaincy For 2020-21
Quinton de Kock. Image Credit: Twitter.
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Quinton de Kock Handed Over South Africa’s Test Captaincy For 2020-21

Quinton de Kock, who is already leading South Africa’s team in the ODI and T20I, has been temporarily handed over the captaincy duty for the Test team. He will succeed Faf du Plessis, who had earlier also stepped down from captaincy in white-ball cricket.

The decision to appoint the wicketkeeper-batsman in charge of the Test team contrast with earlier Graeme Smith‘s statement which said that de Kock would not be made the captain for extended format. But the statement released by Cricket South Africa (CSA) mentions that Quinton is comfortable with the balance of workload. Notably, he will only get seven Tests in the 2020-21 season.

Quinton de Kock,
Quinton de Kock. (Photo by Isuru Sameera Peris/Gallo Images)

“Quinton is happy to continue in the role for the next season and is comfortable with the balance of the workload and we back him fully as a captain,” convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said. “We are also pleased with the leadership group in the team and are cultivating a strong individual leadership culture at the same time so that the team produces a sustainable stream of potential captains for the future.”

South Africa announces 15-man squad; Quinton de Kock to lead:

Quinton de Kock.
Quinton de Kock. Image Credit: Twitter.

South Africa has also announced a 15-men squad for Sri Lanka for two-match series. Uncapped Sarel Erwee, Glenton Stuurman and Kyle Verreyne have been included in the squad. The premier pacer Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius have not been named as he still recovering from injury. They will be assessed in the coming days to determine if they could be added to the squad.

Squad for Sri Lanka Tests: Quinton de Kock (capt, wk), Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Beuran Hendricks, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen, Sarel Erwee, Anrich Nortje, Glenton Stuurman, Wiaan Mulder, Keegan Petersen, Kyle Verreynne.

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