Only two of the players who were in South Africa’s Test win over India on Thursday are in a 14-man squad for two Tests in New Zealand in February. Cricket South Africa on Saturday named a squad which includes seven uncapped players, including a new captain in left-handed opening batsman Neil Brand. Batsman Keegan Petersen and David Bedingham are the only players who were part of South Africa’s innings win in the first Test against India in Centurion. Due to a ruling by Cricket South Africa, no players contracted to franchises in the SA20 competition, which overlaps with the Tests, were eligible for selection.
Despite having to travel with a makeshift squad, Test coach Shukri Conrad said he was confident that the team would be competitive.
“The players selected for this tour have every chance of challenging New Zealand,” said Conrad, who pointed out that most of the players had shown their ability while playing for South Africa A in recent series against West Indies A and India A.
Brand, 27, was born in Johannesburg but went to high school in England at King’s College, Taunton.
He has a solid first-class record with 2906 runs at an average of 39.27. He is also a capable left-arm orthodox spin bowler who has taken 72 wickets at an average of 30.81.
The early announcement of the touring party appeared to end speculation that opening batsman Dean Elgar might be persuaded to delay his retirement from international cricket beyond the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town, starting on Wednesday.
Elgar was named man of the match in the first Test against India after scoring 185 in South Africa’s only innings. He will lead the team in the second Test following an injury to Temba Bavuma.
South African squad:
Neil Brand (capt), David Bedingham, Ruan de Swardt, Clyde Fortuin (wkt), Zubayr Hamza, Tshepo Moreki, Mihlali Mpongwana, Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Dane Piedt, Raynard van Tonder, Shaun von Berg, Khaya Zondo.
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