Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


SA’s IPL players may have to earn back their Proteas Test spots

“The IPL guys did vacate their spots and there is now good competition for those spots."

The Proteas’ Indian Premier League players might have a battle on their hands to get back into the Test side following the successful series win against Bangladesh.

That much is clear from the comments of Test captain Dean Elgar and coach Mark Boucher following the South African team’s win in the second Test in Gqeberha on Monday.

The Proteas won by 332 runs, coming just days after their 220-run win in the first Test in Durban last week.

Elgar’s team was supposedly weakened following the decision by Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen and Rassie van der Dussen to honour their IPL deals and miss the Bangladesh Tests.

This paved the way for Sarel Erwee to continue at the top of the order, for Ryan Rickelton to make his debut, for Keegan Petersen to return to the side and for the Proteas to play two spinners in Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer in both Tests, with both performing more than well.

Lizaad Williams also got a look-in at Test level, while Wiaan Mulder got another opportunity to show what he is capable of at the highest level of the game.

So, where does it leave the IPL men?

“I don’t think it’s fair to just say they come back,” Elgar said after the second Test win. “The guys playing now have made a massive statement. We have a decent batting pool now.

“Someone like Ryan Rickelton has taken to Test cricket pretty well. He’s had a taste and now understands it. Even if the intensity was not quite what it will be playing England.

“But it’s out of my hands whether the IPL guys get selected again,” Elgar said.

Coach Boucher seems more pleased with the fact he has been able to grow the depth among the batters.

“The IPL guys did vacate their spots and there is now good competition for those spots. It’s a nice position to be in,” Boucher said.

While no South African batter scored a century against Bangladesh, several good scores were recorded.

The significant scorers in the first Test in Durban were Elgar with scores of 67 and 64, Erwee with 41, Keegan Petersen with 19 and 36, Temba Bavuma with 93, Rickelton with 21 and 39 not out and Kyle Verreynne with 28.

In the second Test Elgar got 70, Erwee 24, Petersen 64, Bavuma 67, Rickelton 42 and Verreynne  22. Mulder also scored a valuable 33, Keshav Maharaj 84 and Simon Harmer 29.

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