The Test series between South Africa and the West Indies, which begins on Tuesday at SuperSport Park, could not be more low-key, but it has the potential to usher in a new era for the nation’s Test squad. Temba Bavuma, the first Black African to captain the Test team, has been named the team’s new captain, and Shukri Conrad, the team’s new coach, has already established his influence by removing numerous players who were found wanting in losing series in England and Australia. In a South African season dominated by Twenty20 cricket, the Test series has received little build-up.
The Women’s T20 World Cup, in which South Africa made it to the final, and the inaugural SA20 franchise tournament both attracted large crowds and significantly raised the reputation of women’s cricket.
The only two Tests scheduled for the South African summer are the two games against the West Indies after Cricket South Africa decided to give the SA20 priority.
The series is a part of the World Test Championship, however after being soundly defeated in Australia, South Africa is no longer in the running for a spot in the championship match. India then improved their standing in their home series against the Aussies.
The series is not anticipated to draw as many spectators as the white ball matches did in Centurion and Johannesburg.
There are no certainties that there will be any substantial activity over the weekends due to the first Test commencing on a Tuesday and the second on a Wednesday and the propensity for matches to end in three or four days.
Also, no one is as excited about a series against the West Indies as they were back when Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards captained their sides.
South Africa has dominated the players from the Caribbean since losing to the pace pair of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose in 1992, in their debut Test after 22 years of political seclusion.
After the West Indies’ defeat at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, South Africa has won 20 and lost only two of their 29 Test matches against the Caribbean.
The West Indies are now on their first visit in South Africa since 2014–15.
After a series in Zimbabwe, in which the first Test was tied and the second was won by West Indies by an innings, Kraigg Brathwaite’s tourists came. Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie recorded match figures of 13 for 99.
Notwithstanding the fact that South Africa’s batting has been shaky in previous series, Motie, 27, who was playing in his third Test match, is unlikely to find the circumstances favourable in any venue.
By choosing stroke-playing batsmen like Aiden Markram, Ryan Rickelton, and newly-minted Tony de Zorzi, as well as by handing the wicketkeeping gloves to the hard-hitting Heinrich Klaasen, Conrad made it clear that he intended to play aggressive cricket.
It will be crucial for the West Indies opening duo of Brathwaite and Tagenerine Chanderpaul to succeed against the anticipated pace pack, which is likely to include Gerald Coetzee, a 22-year-old tearaway.
Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Senuran Muthusamy, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt),
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Alzarri Joseph, Alick Athanaze, Jermaine Blackwood, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua da Silva (wkt), Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, and Devon Thomas
28.2.-04.03. First Test, Centurion
Second Test, Johannesburg, March 8–12
East London, First ODI, March 16
Second ODI, March 18, East London
Third ODI, Potchefstroom, March 21
First T20I, Centurion, March 25
Second T20I, Centurion, March 26
Third T20I, Johannesburg, 28 March