Now comes the difficult part: choosing a starting eleven.
The T20 World Cup roster for the Proteas is distinguished by its quality, depth, and diversity, with the selectors rewarding recent form (Reeza Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw) and backing experience (all-rounder Wayne Parnell).
Mpitsang recognized that the panel had numerous headaches in selecting the team, but he is equally aware that once the tournament begins, there will be further headaches.
Temba Bavuma missed the visit to England due to an elbow injury, paving the way for the return of Reeza Hendricks, who was the outstanding performer in the three-match T20 series against England. With Rossouw having stolen his opportunity and Quinton de Kock, despite his poor form, being too vital to drop at this time, Bavuma’s starting position will once again be in question.
Mpitsang responded, “That’s a tough call,” when asked if he could envision leaving Bavuma off the starting lineup. “It’s a tricky question. I haven’t decided yet.”
The good news is that he has ample time on his side. The Proteas will also play three Twenty20 Internationals in India later this month, as well as two warm-up matches in Australia, before beginning the competition on October 24 in Hobart.
Rossouw added aggression to the power play, while Hendricks and Rossouw also batted fluidly against England. “He threw the initial blow when we were under duress. It is encouraging to witness his performance. Mpitsang stated, “I hope he maintains this level of play throughout the World Cup.”
With the organizer confirming that Bavuma will open the batting, Hendricks may return to the bench.
“We observed that Reeza started the batting in India (in June) while Temba batted at number three,” Rilee has performed admirably at number three. We’ll determine how to balance the top order to get the most out of our players and put pressure on the opposition.
Mpitsang did not rule out adopting a strategy that would vary according on the venue and the opponent. Bavuma will be convinced that on the quicker pitches in Australia, his ability to deflect the ball rather than having to smash it over the boundary will be advantageous to his playing style.
“I still believe that with the 15 players we have and the conditions we will face, we can make the correct decisions. We have sufficient options to make these decisions.”
Possessing so many alternatives is possibly the most remarkable aspect of this Proteas team. In addition to relying on the expertise of Parnell and Dwaine Pretorius for the vital seam bowling all-rounder positions, the selectors have emphasized the importance of versatility.
“Wayne gives us his left-arm variation, what he can do both early and late with the new ball, and how he bats. Dwaine’s ability to bowl both in the middle and at the end stood out.
The emergence of Tristan Stubbs also allowed the selectors to assemble the squad differently than they did for last year’s Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
“One issue we had to consider was the resources we had,” Mpitsang remarked. “If you examine the players we’ve brought in, you’ll notice that they each serve a unique function, particularly when it comes to our batting. We felt it was really top-heavy (in the UAE), and players like Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen have very defined duties in terms of how they finish innings. This (selection) was more role-specific than what we had last season.”
PROTEAS WORLD CUP T20 TEAM
Temba Bavuma (capt)‚ Quinton de Kock‚ Reeza Hendricks‚ Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram‚ David Miller‚ Lungi Ngidi‚ Anrich Nortjé‚ Wayne Parnell‚ Dwaine Pretorius‚ Kagiso Rabada‚ Rilee Rossouw, Tabraiz Shamsi‚ Tristan Stubbs.
Bjorn Fortuin, Andile Phehlukwayo, and Marco Jansen are on the bench.