After a relatively one-sided Test series that saw England demolishing the hosts South Africa, now it’s the turn of the ODI format to take center-stage. The reigning World Champions will be making their first appearance in the 50-over version of the game since winning its biggest trophy in July last year.
South Africa, on the other hand, is as troubled in this format as they are in Tests. Their performance in the World Cup was extremely poor. Now, they are looking to rebuild and luckily, they have plenty of great talent to work with, both in the batting and bowling department.
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This series would be much more important than the average ODI contest. It pits two teams which are at opposing ends of the success charts, against each other. This series will tell us whether England, having achieved that one goal for which they single-mindedly strove for since the 2015 World Cup, can continue to perform at the highest level.
It will also tell us how much of a recovery, mental as much as anything else, South Africa has made since the World Cup debacle.
Now, let us zoom in and look at the five specific things that fans should look out for in this series.
#5 A slew of youngsters in the Proteas squad
Whenever a team starts rebuilding after a World Cup campaign, they bring in a lot of youngsters. The South African selectors have decided to do the same thing. There are plenty of new names in the squad.
Who among these players would be able to shine and prove themselves worthy of this opportunity? That will be the big question. Bjorn Fortuin, Janneman Malan, Lutho Sipamla, JJ Smuts, Kyle Verreynne are the new faces in the team. Alongside them, other players are better known but still less tested, like Beuran Hendricks and Temba Bavuma.
The selectors will desperately want some of these players to step up and prove their worthiness in ODI cricket. Both and cricket lovers, in general, would keep their eyes peeled to see whether amidst these new names lies the next great South African cricketer.
We don’t know for sure how many of these players will get enough chances to succeed. Some of them are bound to be given a rough deal as there are just three matches. But often the talent of a player can be spotted in the most minute of performances. Let’s see which players will whet our appetite to see more of them in the future.