Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


‘Myself and Temba are a good fit,’ says Conrad about Test captaincy shake-up

'It does not make Dean (Elgar) a poor captain, I think he did an exceptional job.'

Dean Elgar’s tenure as Proteas Test captain has come to an end after two years, with Temba Bavuma taking over the reins of the red-ball national team, and according to new coach Shukri Conrad and director of cricket Enoch Nkwe, it is not a position the 32-year-old is going to rent either but a long-term appointment.

The new era under Bavuma will start at the end of the month in a two-Test series against the West Indies up on the Highveld, and it has been accompanied by a raft of changes to the squad that played in Australia.

‘Temba good fit’

“The call was clear that with the new direction we are going in as a team and a system, we all felt a change in leadership was needed,” Nkwe said on Friday. “Temba was obviously the best person.

“We see him adapting to the new playing philosophy and he has an established relationship with Shukri. Dean did a great job through tough times and we thank him for the last two years.”

Conrad also highlighted the relationship he has with Bavuma as a factor in his appointment.

“I felt myself and Temba are a very good fit. That does not make Dean a poor captain, I think he did an exceptional job and will still have a very big part to play in our leadership group.

“But Temba and I have an understanding of how we both want to do things, those couple of days in Bloemfontein and Kimberley with the ODI squad just consolidated my decision.

Read more: Temba Bavuma – ‘I am still here. I deserve to be here’

“Temba is a star performer in the Test arena, long may that continue and I think captaincy sits well with him. I consulted with Temba and Enoch about who we want in the team going forward,” Conrad said.

De Zorzi, Coetzee

Aiden Markram is one of the previously discarded players, along with Ryan Rickelton, Wiaan Mulder and Senuran Muthusamy, who have found homes in the new-look Test squad.

The prolific Tony de Zorzi has been included for the first time, Heinrich Klaasen replaces Kyle Verreynne as first-choice wicketkeeper, and Gerald Coetzee is in line to make his debut having been a non-playing squad member in Australia.

“Gerald needs a good run, we know the promise that is there and now is as good a time as any to unleash it,” Conrad said. “I like to think we will be able to play all our quicks at Centurion.

“I’m also old-fashioned in that I want seven batsmen and so I’ve increased our all-rounder stocks with Wiaan and also a spinner in Senuran, to get that balance. It depends on the make-up of the XI.

Read more: Conrad and Walter – ‘The patient opener and the enthusiastic keeper’

“Kyle’s omission is a tough one, but ultimately I am paid to make certain calls and subjectivity does play a part. He has done everything expected, but I think Heinrich offers more.

“You are either fully behind Aiden or you think he flatters to deceive. I am in the former camp and he will open the batting, I think he is a wonderful cricketer and he is a strokeplayer. The way we want to play, we need the right characters to fit into that,” Conrad said.

Squad: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Temba Bavuma, Ryan Rickelton, Tony de Zorzi, Heinrich Klaasen, Wiaan Mulder, Senuran Muthusamy, Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Simon Harmer, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.