Sport / Cricket

Sport Staff
3 minute read
17 Jan 2017
8:38 am

From Ngidi to Smuts: Who are the Proteas T20 newbies?

Sport Staff

South Africa play the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka with a whole host of rookies. This is who they are.

Lungi Ngidi is a promising 20-year-old quick from the Titans. Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images.

In an attempt to rest key players for a demanding season, the Proteas decided to call-up several newbies and forgotten men for the T20 series against Sri Lanka.

Three matches, starting on Friday in Centurion, will be played with Farhaan Behardien as captain.

Also read: Sublime Rabada, poor Bavuma: We rate the Proteas’ Test series

So who exactly are these men?

Lungi Ngidi (20, Titans)

Mark Boucher, the Titans coach and former Proteas keeper, has had no qualms giving his young quick bowler numerous opportunities.

The lanky Ngidi is getting stronger and quicker by the week and impressed in the recent domestic T20 competition, scalping 9 wickets.

He’s clearly been picked on potential and to gain experience.

Mangaliso Mosehle (26, Highveld Lions)

In 2012, a few months after Boucher had to retire, everybody was talking about a young man named Quinton de Kock.

Yet ironically, in that season’s domestic 50-over campaign, the Titans picked a small but dynamic hitter – Mosehle.

He ended up making just six runs (314) less than De Kock in that campaign but there wasn’t much talk of him getting higher honours.

Mosehle has been plagued by inconsistency over the years but a move to the Lions this season saw him blossom in the domestic T20.

He scored 277 runs at a strike rate of 140.

Jon-Jon Smuts (28, Warriors)

Sometimes cricket dishes up the type of unfashionable players who gain national call-ups through sheer loyalty and hard work.

That’s the Warriors skipper for you.

For years, Smuts has been a reliable, even destructive opener in domestic cricket yet 2016/17 saw him reach new heights – top-scorer in the T20 competition with 371 runs.

His left-arm spinners is so effective in white-ball cricket that he can be considered a frontline bowler.

Dane Paterson (27, Cape Cobras)

The Capetonians’ pace bowler is one of those players you’d rather play with than against.

His stocky build doesn’t make him seem like an intimidating opponent but he’s deceptively quick and skillful.

Perhaps more importantly, Paterson has a steely character.

He’s not easily flustered, even when the going gets tough.

Andile Phehlukwayo (20, Dolphins)

He’s strictly speaking not a new guy.

But boy, have fans been waiting to see this promising all-rounder again.

Phehlukwayo delighted all and sundry during last year’s ODI whitewash of the Aussies, where the 20-year-old was named Man-of-the-Series.

Hopefully he merely carries on from those feats.

Theunis de Bruyn (24, Knights)

The national selectors aren’t being melodramatic when they say this guy can come the closest to matching the dynamism of AB de Villiers.

De Bruyn is a fabulously talented batter, blessed with the priceless gift of never looking bogged down.

His attacking instincts constantly put the opposition bowlers under strain.

Reeza Hendricks (27, Highveld Lions)

His move from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg didn’t start out all that well but Hendricks still remains one of franchise cricket’s best openers in white-ball cricket.

Blessed with varied skills, the former national Under-19 star has already played 5 T20s for South Africa and looked very much at home.

There was a solid 49 against the Aussies in 2014 and a quick-fire 42 against the Windies in 2015.

Heino Kuhn (32, Titans)

Kuhn was very unlucky to play in an era where Boucher was in his prime.

The veteran is a magnificent cricketer, able to score buckets or runs in any format.

He’s an accomplished wicketkeeper but it’s actually more of a joy seeing him in the field, where he continues to look like a 21-year-old.

Proteas squad: Farhaan Behardien (c), Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heino Kuhn, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts.

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