Proteas

From Stubbs to Brevis: 5 talking points from Proteas' T20 squad for blockbuster India series

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Keshav Maharaj (Gallo Images)
Keshav Maharaj (Gallo Images)

The Proteas are heading to India for five T20s in a blockbuster series that runs from 9-19 June. 

It is their first action since last month's Test series against Bangladesh on home soil, and on Tuesday, Cricket South Africa announced a 16-man squad for the tour

Temba Bavuma continues as captain, Tristan Stubbs is called up, Anrich Nortje returns and, following months of uncertainty surrounding head coach Mark Boucher, this is an opportunity for South African cricket to put its focus firmly back on the field. 

Here, we highlight FIVE talking points to emerge from the latest Proteas squad.

1. Stubbs breaks through

Easily the biggest talking point from the announcement was the inclusion of 21-year-old Tristan Stubbs, who is called up to a Proteas squad for the first time. 

Having impressed in the CSA T20 Challenge earlier in the year - he finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the competition with 283 in 7 innings - Stubbs is already in India, having landed a late IPL gig with the Mumbai Indians.

A hard-hitter with a vast arsenal of shot-making ability, Stubbs is an exciting talent who has used the domestic platform to catch the attention of the national brains-trust. 

His game time could be limited in India - the likes of Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller will be expected to command top-order positions - but the five-match series allows Boucher an opportunity to rotate. 

The T20 World Cup is set for Australia later this year, and Stubbs now has an opportunity to make a play for that squad. 

2. Nortje bolsters pace attack 

It will be so comforting for Proteas followers to see Anrich Nortje's name back on the squad list. 

It has been a long, frustrating journey back to full fitness for the 28-year-old speedster, but he has been hitting his straps in the IPL this year with the Delhi Capitals, picking up regular wickets even if he has been a touch expensive at times. 

Nortje's raw pace and aggression gives South Africa so much firepower, and the possibility of seeing him operate alongside Kagiso Rabada and a hopefully fit Lungi Ngidi in Proteas colours once more is a tantalising prospect.

Marco Jansen is also included, which means the Proteas fast-bowling attack will be made up completely of IPL players. 

Proteas T20 squad for India series:
Temba Bavuma (captain, Lions), Quinton de Kock (Titans), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), David Miller (Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Western Province), Dwaine Pretorius (North West Dragons), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Tristan Stubbs (Warriors), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions), Marco Jansen (Warriors)

3. Parnell's comeback continues

Considered one of the country's brightest prospects at U-19 level, it is safe to say that Wayne Parnell has not delivered on that hype on the international stage since. 

With 67 ODIs and 40 T20Is to his name, however, the 32-year-old comes with much experience and gives the Proteas options with bat and ball. 

Wayne Parnell
South African all-rounder Wayne Parnell (AFP)
AFP Christiaan KOTZE / AFP

He has effectively moved ahead of Andile Phehlukwayo in the allrounder pecking order, and since returning from his Kolpak deal towards the end of 2021, he has worked his way back into the Proteas set-up. 

Parnell, included in a T20 squad for the first time since 2017, will feel like he has unfinished business in his country's colours, and India is the perfect stage to set about putting that right. 

He will likely compete with Dwaine Pretorius for a place in the XI. 

4. Maharaj and Shamsi, the spin bankers

Tabraiz Shamsi has long been the Proteas' first-choice spinner in this format, but it is now clear that Keshav Maharaj has moved ahead of everybody else as the backup option. 

The likes of George Linde and Bjorn Fortuin certainly have the proven ability to perform at international level, but they will need to remain patient for now, with Maharaj clearly ahead in that fight. 

One might have expected Boucher to pick another specialist spinner for the tour given the conditions, but one should expect Shamsi and Maharaj to be picked together. 

Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks do provide part-time options. 

5. No Dewald Brevis ... yet 

The 19-year-old has had his life turned upside down in a matter of months, and he is carrying a weight of expectation on his shoulders. 

Being that closely compared to AB de Villiers comes with a lot of pressure for somebody so young, and Brevis has shown glimpses at this year's IPL of why there is so much attention on him. 

He may have fallen out of favour at the Mumbai Indians recently, and it is clear that his game still has a long way to go, but Brevis looks set to be a superstar for South African cricket - hopefully in all formats - in the years to come. 

Throwing him into the deep end for the Indian tour would have been a huge call, and it is refreshing to see the domestic form of players like Stubbs backed instead. 

Brevis will have his time, but a few more domestic games under the belt can only be a good thing.

India T20I series vs South Africa itinerary:

9 June: 1st T20I - Delhi

12 June: 2nd T20I - Cuttack

14 June: 3rd T20I - Vizag

17 June: 4th T20I - Rajkot

19 June: 5th T20I - Bengaluru

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