Some experienced names missed out in South Africa's squad for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021, announced on Thursday, 9 September.
The squad did not feature all-rounder Chris Morris, former captain Faf du Plessis, and veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir. Tahir and du Plessis, in particular, had retired from other forms of the game, with one eye on playing in the upcoming World Cup.
Temba Bavuma will captain a young side in the UAE – he is expected to recover from a thumb injury in time for the tournament – that also featured Keshav Maharaj, the left-arm spinner who is yet to play a T20I.
Maharaj will captain South Africa during the upcoming T20I series in Sri Lanka in Bavuma's absence, and Victor Mpitsang, CSA's convenor of selectors, said the 31-year-old would be an invaluable addition to the squad during the T20 World Cup.
"Kesh is an excellent leader," said Mpitsang. "He has the backing of the team and us as a panel. He has more than proven his leadership skills in the Dolphins set up and reinforced our good decision during the ODI series against Sri Lanka which ended on Tuesday.
“His exemplary captaincy is what we believe is in the best interests of the team’s stability during this last international series that the team gets to play ahead of the World Cup.”
South Africa are well stocked in the spin department with Maharaj being joined by Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin as specialist spinners.
Quinton de Kock, Aidem Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller form part of an experienced batting line-up, and the Proteas also boast a fearsome fast-bowling line-up, featuring Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje.
"There is no better time than now for us to bring home the trophy, and bring the nation together in a way that only sport can," said Mpitsang. "We hope that South Africans will rally behind this team and cheer them all the way to the final.”
George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo and Lizaad Williams were named as reserve players.
Cricket South Africa also appointed Justin Sammons and JP Duminy as specialist consultants to the team for the mega event. Speaking about the appointment CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith said, "I would like to thank the Imperial Lions and the North West Dragons for making JP and Justin available to us where they are currently employed as the respective batting coaches."
"Justin previously worked with the Proteas during the first part of our current tour of Sri Lanka so he has already developed a good working relationship with the players. JP is a perfect fit for T20 cricket. His record as a player speaks for itself and he will bring specific skills in all three disciplines of batting, bowling and fielding," he added.
Full squad: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, W Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen
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