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Proteas arrive for Windies series


Proteas arrive for Windies series
South Africa arrived in St. Lucia on Tuesday. (GP)

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CASTRIES – South Africa touched down on Tuesday in St. Lucia for their Tour of the Caribbean, marking only the second international series in the Caribbean since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Africans will play two Tests at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG) in St. Lucia and five Twenty20 Internationals at the National Cricket Stadium (NCS) in Grenada and will now undergo three days of quarantine and must return two negative PCR tests before being allowed to train.

Following quarantine, the Proteas are expected to play a two-day practice match in preparation for the first Test, which starts on June 10 at the DSCG.

The 19-member 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 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 captain Faf du Plessis, both experienced campaigners, were selected for the trip.

On their last Test tour of the Caribbean 11 years ago, the South Africans, under Graeme Smith, beat the hosts 2-0 in a three-Test series, winning at Port of Spain and Bridgetown.

Meanwhile, a West Indies 30-member squad have been training in the island 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 the Windies and South Africa was scheduled to be staged last year, but it was scrapped – along with the entire home schedule – after the outbreak of COVID-19, which also forced a global cessation of the sport.

Similar to the Sri Lanka Tour of the Caribbean this past March, the matches against the Proteas will be staged behind closed doors under strict health protocols, as it has become the norm during the pandemic.

The second Test will also be played at the DSCG, starting on June 18, before the NCS hosts the T20 series from June 26 to July 3.

The South Africans will begin a busy period for West Indies. They also host Australia in five T20Is in St. Lucia and three One-day Internationals from July 9 to 24 in Barbados, before welcoming Pakistan for five T20Is in Barbados and Guyana, along with two Tests from July 27 to August 4 in Jamaica.