Bavuma wants positive start for Proteas’ brave new era in Test cricket

Proteas Test captain Temba Bavuma bats during day two of the first Test against Australia at The Gabba on December 18, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. File image
Proteas Test captain Temba Bavuma bats during day two of the first Test against Australia at The Gabba on December 18, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. File image
Image: Albert Perez/Getty Images

New Proteas Test captain Temba Bavuma wants his side to have a positive start as they embark on an era he calls “exciting times” for the team, with changes in management and on the field.

South Africa's men's Test team begin their journey under the leadership of new red ball coach Shukri Conrad with the two-match series against the West Indies from Tuesday.

Bavuma replaced Dean Elgar as captain as Conrad made changes, as he seeks a turnaround from 2022 battling performances that ended with a weak 2-0 Test series defeat in Australia. South Africa's first black Test skipper will lead his team at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Tuesday.

The second Test starts at the Wanderers from March 8.

Conrad takes over from Mark Boucher who stepped down after last year’s T20 World Cup. Malibongwe Maketa was the stand-in coach in Australia in December.

Conrad has made changes to the backroom staff and playing personnel of the side that will be entrusted with leading South Africa into a new era.

“We welcome the new faces coming into the side and we also welcome the guys who have been in the team from a while ago,” Bavuma said on Monday.

“It is exciting times for everyone involved.”

Conrad's selections include uncapped batter Tony de Zorzi and promising young fast bowler Gerald Coetzee, who has been in the squad without playing. All-rounder Senuran Muthusamy, who last played for the Test side against India in 2019, has been recalled.

“It’s a start of a new journey and we would like to start on a clean slate and go out there and play the way we would like to play,” Bavuma said.

“I think you are going to hear me saying that a lot about how we want to go about our business. That’s the exciting bit, to see how that looks on the field.”

With batters such as Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Ryan Rickelton and De Zorzi, Conrad has shown his intent will be to play aggressive cricket.

The Proteas are out of the running for the ICC World Test Championship title, but Bavuma does not believe there will be a lack of motivation from his side against the West Indies.

“Having the opportunity to play for the Proteas is motivation enough.

“It’s another opportunity for the guys to represent their country and inspire the nation. I don’t think there’s any bigger motivation than that.

“We want to win the series and that is what we will be aiming to do.”

Play at SuperSport Park starts at 10am.

Test squads:

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Senuran Muthusamy, Anrich Nortjé, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton

West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Alick Athanaze, Jermaine Blackwood, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua da Silva (wkt), Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Akeem Jordan, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Devon Thomas

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