With the dust having truly set on last year’s painful series defeats in England and Australia, which all but damaged their hopes of making the World Test Championship final (2023), the Proteas will want to regain their form quickly against the West Indies at home. The Windies, on the other hand, would like to make it a double sweep on their travels to Southern Africa after beating Zimbabwe in a recently concluded two-match series.
This instalment of the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy is therefore much anticipated in both South Africa and the West Indies. It’s also quite a special one for Temba Bavuma, who will play his first Test as captain after he replaced the outgoing Dean Elgar. It is also a special series for young Western Province batsman Tony De Zorzi who is in line to make his debut after a string of impressive showings in first class cricket.
Players to Watch:
Markram is back in the Proteas set up after missing the series against Australia due to poor form. He has since returned to the top of his game during the recent SA20 league, where he captained the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to glory in the inaugural competition. He scored a good hundred during the tournament and also had a decent ODI series against England. Can he cement his pace in the Test side, as well?
As well as captaining his team commendably, Temba was also in excellent batting form during the ODI victories against England. His next challenge is to continue this rich vein of form in the longest form of the game. He has been arguably the Proteas most consistent batsman in Test cricket over the last few years and has done more than most to help South Africa through a tricky transitional period after the retirements of Hashim Amla, AB De Villiers and Faf Du Plessis. He will want to start his tenure as captain on the right note and will be hoping to score some big runs with the bat as well.
Having struggled for momentum during the nightmare series in Australia, KG will want to put all that behind him and start 2023 with a bang. Having taken more Test wickets than any bowler in the world last year, Rabada will certainly be pumped up for this series to remind himself (and the world) of his abilities not only with the ball, but also the bat. Is a first international half century on the cards? Maybe.
The West Indian skipper has become an inspirational leader and his team’s best batsman. His form in Zimbabwe was solid – he compiled a well-made 182 in Bulawayo – but one imagines that he’ll need more big runs if his side are to pull off an unlikely series win in South Africa. He will undoubtedly be pleased with the emergence of opening partner Tagenarine Chanderpaul, son of West Indian legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has certainly looked the part in Test cricket since his debut in Australia last year.
Son of a legend, Tagenarine Chanderpaul played immaculately against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. He also made a solid half century in Australia and certainly looks a top prospect for West Indies cricket going forward. Can he improve on his strong Test batting average of 69.66 thus far? It will be a tough ask but Tagenarine certainly has the pedigree.
Motie played a crucial role for the West Indies in the recent victorious tour of Zimbabwe: the Guyanese leg break bowler mustered outstanding figures of 4-50, 7-37 and 6-62 in the series. It has been an impressive start to his Test career – he currently averages just 15.89 in the 3 Tests he has played with an excellent economy rate of 2.86. However, he might find conditions a little tricker in South Africa where the seamers are usually on top.
Who will win?
The upcoming Sir Vivian Richards Trophy promises to be a unique and enthralling series. South Africa will try to put things right in front of their home crowd whilst the West Indies will hope to win a Test series in South Africa for the very first time – they won in 1992 (in South Africa’s first game after readmission) but it was just a single Test. History is therefore against the tourists but the Proteas do have their weaknesses. Who do you think will win the series and which cricketers will shine?
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Senuran Muthusamy, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood (vc), Alick Athanaze, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Akeem Jordan, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Devon Thomas.