Proteas arrive for Windies series
CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC):
South Africa touched down here yesterday for the two-Test series against West Indies starting next week, marking only the second international series in the Caribbean since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The squad, who will also play five Twenty20 Internationals in Grenada, will now undergo three days of quarantine and must return two negative PCR tests before being allowed to train.
Following quarantine, the squad is expected to play a two-day practice match in preparation for the first Test which gets underway on June 10 at the Daren Sammy National Stadium.
The 19-man Test squad is being led by Dean Elgar for the first time, while Temba Bavuma, the first Black African to make a Test hundred for South Africa, has taken charge of the white-ball unit.
Selectors have named six uncapped players in the Test squad with Prenelan Subrayen, Lizaad Williams Kyle Verreynne, Keegan Petersen, Sarel Erwee and Marco Jansen, all newcomers.
Neither superstar AB de Villiers nor former Test skipper Faf du Plessis, both experienced campaigners, were selected for the trip.
On South Africa’s last Test tour of the Caribbean in 2010, Graeme Smith’s side beat the hosts 2-0 in a three-Test series, winning at Port of Spain and Bridgetown.
Meanwhile, a West Indies 30-man squad have been training here for nearly three weeks and currently mid-way through a four-day match, from which the final Test squad will be chosen.
The series between West Indies and South Africa was scheduled to be staged last year but was scrapped – along with the entire home schedule – after the outbreak of COVID-19 which also forced a global cessation of the game.
Like the Sri Lanka series in March, the series will be staged behind closed doors and under strict health protocols, as has become the norm during the pandemic.
The second Test will also be played at the Daren Sammy National Stadium starting June 18 before Grenada’s National Stadium hosts the T20 series from June 26 to July 3.
South Africa’s tour will kick off a busy period for West Indies where they also host Australia in five T20Is here and in three One-Day Internationals in Barbados from July 9-24, before welcoming Pakistan for five T20Is in Barbados and Guyana, along with two Tests in Jamaica, from July 27 to August 4.