Bright future ahead for the Proteas in white

I hear and read people saying that South Africa are in trouble when it comes to our future generation of cricketers a lot, I however being a lover of this wonderful game from SA, watch a lot of domestic cricket and feel very differently about this.

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From what I can tell South Africa have a lot of young talent waiting for their opportunity to get a chance at the big stage, players like Marchant de Lange, a 22 year old fast (and I mean fast) bowler who had a short burst on the SA Test scene but was then ruled out of contention when he suffered a lengthily injury. Well he is back now, currently playing in the Ram Slam (SA’s domestic T20 tournament) and has been clocking in speeds in excess of 150km from his very first match back. Still not convinced? Then take a look at his more than impressive bowling averages across all formats.

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 2 4 448 277 9 7/81 8/126 30.77 3.70 49.7 0 1 0
ODIs 1 1 54 46 4 4/46 4/46 11.50 5.11 13.5 1 0 0
T20Is 2 2 48 79 3 2/36 2/36 26.33 9.87 16.0 0 0 0
First-class 20 40 3467 2112 74 7/81 11/62 28.54 3.65 46.8 2 4 1
List A 15 15 702 596 31 5/67 5/67 19.22 5.09 22.6 2 1 0
Twenty20 13 12 252 380 16 3/25 3/25 23.75 9.04 15.7 0 0 0

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Then we have Kyle Abbott. He made his debut vs Pakistan after a long successful period in the Sunfoil Series (SA Domestic 4 day competition) and burst onto the scene by taking 9 wickets in his first ever Test match, beating Marchant de Lange’s maiden test figures (yes the guy I just spoke about) of 7-84. Take a look at his performance in that test match.

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 1 2 172 68 9 7/29 9/68 7.55 2.37 19.1 0 1 0

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Then there’s someone who will be relatively if not completely unknown to anybody not in SA, and that man is Ayabulela Gqamane. He made his debut for the Warriors (SA domestic franchise) this season, and never looked back, putting in match winning performances over and over again. He also has an interesting story behind him. He grew up next door to Makhaya Ntini, and learnt everything from him, Ntini was his hero and has made him the cricketer he is today, take a look at his statistics:

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
First-class 28 48 3406 1917 107 8/25 12/32 17.91 3.37 31.8 5 6 3
List A 21 21 756 636 32 5/28 5/28 19.87 5.04 23.6 1 1 0
Twenty20 7 7 114 175 4 1/8 1/8 43.75 9.21 28.5 0 0

He’s also more than handy with the bat, with the Warriors coach Piet Botha confident that he will develop into a strong all-rounder (possible replacement for Kallis?)

Batting and fielding averages:

Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
First-class 28 41 5 725 86 20.13 893 81.18 0 2 85 17 10 0
List A 21 14 5 287 88* 31.88 254 112.99 0 2 28 10 5 0
Twenty20 7 4 0 58 34 14.50 41 141.46 0 0 1 5 3 0

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Andrew Birch is another Warriors bowler that shows promising signs as a possible SA test cricketer, here are his figures:

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
First-class 55 9540 4891 214 8/30 22.85 3.07 44.5 14 9 0
List A 47 2027 1594 78 4/28 4/28 20.43 4.71 25.9 4 0 0
Twenty20 21 21 433 529 25 4/22 4/22 21.16 7.33 17.3 1 0 0

as you can see he has been putting in solid performances with the ball for more than a while now, and I am surprised that he hasn’t been given a chance at the international level yet.

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SA also have very promising batsmen, the young Quinton de Kock for example, an instinctive magnificent batsmen, that looks the real deal, and his stats prove that with a first class average of 55.70. He is also handy behind the stumps, and with Mark Boucher currently mentoring him, could become the answer to the problem SA are having with finding a good replacement for the position Boucher left. AB keeping wicket has worked but is by no means a permanent solution, at least I hope not.

There are many more players that are so close to making this list, and if they put in solid performances consistently, could easily become more than handy international cricketers. I’m talking about people like Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, Jonathan Vandiar, Reeza Hendricks, CJ de Villiers, and Cody Chetty. Look them up and you will see what I am talking about.

So with all the afore mentioned players, along with the current group of SA Test cricketers who still have many years ahead of them, players like Elgar, du Plessis, Duminy, de Villiers, Amla, and Steyn, I disagree with people who say SA will have a problem come 5 or so years, I think we have more than enough young talent to remain a force to be reckoned with for many years to come, and that is my humble opinion.

Matthew Nepgen

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