- Proteas limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma said Cape Cobras batsman Kyle Verreynne is ready to fill Faf du Plessis's boots.
- Du Plessis hasn't retired from limited overs cricket, but he's not part of the Pakistan ODI series squad.
- Verreynne is in red-hot form after two consecutive 4-Day Franchise series tons for the Cape Cobras.
Proteas limited-overs skipper Temba Bavuma said rising Cape Cobras batting tyro Kyle Verreynne has identified himself as a long-term replacement for former limited overs captain Faf du Plessis.
Du Plessis hasn’t retired from the shorter formats, but his longevity can’t be put past the upcoming cycle of this year’s T20 World Cup in India and the 2023 World Cup to be held in the same country.
Verreynne is in the limited overs squad fresh of a first-class best of 216* against the Warriors and 109 against the Knights where the Cape Cobras scored 500-plus runs in both games.
His progression in red ball cricket has been there to see with the 2018/19 season seeing him collect 583 runs at 44.84 with five 50s.
He stepped up in the 2019/20 season with 551 runs at 55.10 with two 100s and three 50s but he truly showed up in the recently concluded 2020/21 4-Day Franchise Series with 680 runs at 97.14 with two 100s and four 50s.
He didn’t feature in this season’s truncated One-Day Cup and didn’t distinguish himself too well last season with 83 runs at 20.75 in four matches.
However, he left a calling card in the 2018/19 edition with 453 runs at 64.71 with one 100 and four 50s.
He hasn’t quite asked the same pressing questions in T20 cricket with small returns of 107 runs at 35 in five games for the Cape Town Blitz and 64 runs in two innings for the Paarl Rocks without being dismissed in the Mzansi Super League editions.
Bavuma has seen enough of Verreynne to see that he could be an integral part of Proteas limited-overs batting unit.
In his three pre-Covid ODI’s against Australia last year, he made 48, three and 50. His debut 48 in Paarl saw him come in at 33/2 and crafted what became an innings resurrecting partnership with Heinrich Klaasen (123*) in a game SA eventually won.
“Faf was a big player in the team, and no one can dispute that. He made the necessary runs and led the team excellently. Whoever will fill Faf’s shoes will have to be a determined individual who knows their batting story. A player like Kyle, with his talent, determination and ability, is definitely a player who is capable of filling those shoes,” Bavuma said.
“Kyle’s had a taste of what international cricket is and knows what is required to stay at this level. He has been around our squad and a player we have looked at. It’s also helped his cause massively that he’s been a massive run-scorer at domestic level. He’s dominating and he’s definitely a person we’re looking at to fill Faf’s position."
Having missed out on five ODIs because of Covid-19 to get Project 2023 Cricket World Cup up and running, Friday’s first ODI against Pakistan in Centurion will be one of many ODIs where SA will gauge where they are with regards to the best teams like England and India.
Bavuma provided clarity with regards to where the players for the upcoming International Cricket Council tournaments will come from.
“When you look at our ODI squad, we have 22 players and that’s a big squad. The guys who are here can take comfort from the fact that the World Cup squads will be coming from this group. 90 percent of this squad will be coming from this group, so it's important that guys understand and acknowledge the fact that there is an opportunity,” said Bavuma.
“It’s also important that guys also know where they fit in within that squad. It’s nice to see new faces and guys being rewarded for their hard work. It’s important that they keep putting in those performances. Guys will say it's easy to play yourself into the national level, but maintaining it is the tough part with regards to maintaining the performances that people are accustomed to."