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It’s Time for the Proteas Four-Test Main Course

Proteas coloured clothes have been packed back into coffins and kit bags and test whites are being dusted off.

The T20 International series gave the world a glance of the future. With their 2-1 series victory, England look to have a much bigger constellation of stars on their horizon than South Africa but there is talent there. Dane Patterson, Mangaliso Mosehle, Andile Phehlukwayo and Jon-Jon Smuts all have an interesting set of skills that when combined and harnessed with Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris and Dean Elgar could make the Proteas into a near complete unit.

That is a discussion for another day. It is now time for the main course: the four Test series that begins at the start of July.

Today, Cricket South Africa named their squad that will attempt to win a third successive series in the land of tea and crumpets.

Hard choices but the right choices were made when selecting the squad. The Proteas no longer have some of the games heavyweights – Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher, Makhaya Ntini in their ranks while two of the men who replaced those players – Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers are not around either.

No matter who you speak to, the talents and experience that are not available this time around make this South African test squad the most vulnerable since the first that set foot in England after isolation.

What better time for the next generation to make their mark than now. Think Smith back in 2003 – the young and bullish captain still trying to make his name in the game. That is the chance that every one of the sixteen players named on Monday has.

That sentiment applies particularly to Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Morris, Rabada and Duanne Olivier who are all likely to play vital roles in all four Tests.

Faf (however much of the series he plays, even though he has never played international white clothing cricket in the country), the “The Mighty #”, Morne Morkel and Big Vern have the most important roles to play in guiding those young heads in challenging conditions.

Add to that, the new men – Heino “the journeyman” Kuhn, Phelukhwayo, Theunis de Bruyn (single cap adventure in New Zealand aside) and Aiden Markram will be chopping at the bit to walk through that hallowed Lord’s Long Room and down those stairs to get their names on those honours boards, just as Smith did in 2003 to begin a new exciting era in South African Cricket.

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