Breetzke gets maiden Test call-up for West Indies tour; Jansen rested – Football News

Breetzke gets maiden Test call-up for West Indies tour; Jansen rested

David Bedingham, Dane Paterson and Dane Piedt are the only players from South Africa’s makeshift squad that toured New Zealand in February to be named for their next red-ball assignment, against West Indies in August. While Bedingham is seen as central to the future of South Africa’s long-format batting, Paterson, 35, has been included to add experience in the absence of Anrich Nortje and Marco Jansen, and Piedt, 34, to have a second spinner in addition to Keshav Maharaj.
The rest of the players were all part of South Africa’s home series against India earlier this year with the exception of batter Matthew Breetzke, who has earned his first Test call-up. Breetzke is currently playing for Northants and was part of a South African A side that toured Sri Lanka last year. With Dean Elgar’s recent international retirement, he will provide batting back-up to a top five that will likely include Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Tristan Stubbs, Temba Bavuma and David Bedingham.
Red-ball coach Shukri Conrad confirmed that Stubbs would take over the No. 3 spot, with de Zorzi moving up into Elgar’s opening slot. “Technically Stubbs is one of the best around,” Conrad said at a press conference. “He’s the type of cricketer that I want at the top of the order. And I think he has got all the makings of a top-class No. 3 batter. He will get a really good run and he is definitely one for the future. Some might say it’s a big call, but I certainly won’t be throwing someone in at the deep end and give him a task that I didn’t think he was capable of handling.”
Wicketkeeper-batter Ryan Rickelton has been recalled after last playing Tests in the home series against West Indies in March 2023 and will compete with incumbent gloveman Kyle Verreynne for a spot at No. 6. The only seam-bowling allrounder in the squad is Wiaan Mulder, who also last played Tests at home against West Indies, after Jansen was rested from the tour.

“Given the hectic schedules and not necessarily for South Africa – you take someone like Marco, who would have had two months at an IPL straight to a World Cup, straight into an MLC – the plan was always for different guys to be getting breaks at different times,” Conrad said. “So this is Marco’s time where we felt we can do some really good work with him from a rehab and conditioning point of view, and if there’s some technical work that needs to happen.”

Jansen will also miss the October Tests in Bangladesh and “be ready for Sri Lanka and Pakistan”, Conrad said. “And then another quick will have the Bangladesh series off and be ready for Sri Lanka and Pakistan. So it’s conversations that Rob [Walter, the white-ball coach] and I have been having for the longest time now. We want to make sure that we manage these players properly. They never get time to actually do some work on their bodies and any technical stuff. It’s not a holiday.”

The pace attack will be led by Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi with Nortje not considered after he opted out of a central contract this year with the aim of focusing primarily on T20 cricket. Paterson and left-armer Nandre Burger are the other two pace options.

South Africa’s first-choice Test players have not been in action since the New Year’s Test, which they lost to India after being to miss the New Zealand series and honour SA20 commitments. South Africa lost that series 2-0 and sit in seventh place on the WTC points table, but have only played four matches. They have eight more Tests scheduled in this cycle – two in the West Indies, two in Bangladesh in October and home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan – and have hopes they could put themselves in a position to compete for a spot in the WTC final.

“We’ve got eight test matches left in the cycle and whilst one doesn’t want to look too far ahead, in order to give ourselves a good crack at it, we probably need to win at least seven,” Conrad said. “That’s part of the end goal. We know that every Test series is going to be a challenging one. But when we play to our full potential, I think we can obviously get the right results. We’re still very much in the mix.”

Those members of the squad who are not involved in the MLC or on the county circuit – Bavuma, Breetzke, de Zorzi, Mulder, Paterson, Stubbs and Verreynne – will take part in a four-day training camp in Durban before departing for the West Indies. The first Test takes place in Trinidad from August 7 and the second in Guyana a week later.

Temba Bavuma, David Bedingham, Matthew Breetzke, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Tristan Stubbs, Ryan Rickelton, Kyle Verreynne

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