- Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar revealed that Dolphins top-order batsman Keegan Petersen is a candidate to fill Faf du Plessis’s vacancy in the batting line-up.
- Du Plessis announced his retirement from Test cricket earlier this year, freeing up a batting slot.
- Elgar also said wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock would resume his lower middle-order batting duties.
Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar revealed that Dolphins top-order batsman Keegan Petersen is in line to replace the retired Faf du Plessis for next month’s two-Test series against the West Indies in St Lucia.
Du Plessis’s retirement from the longest format earlier this year left a spot in the top-order and the race to fill it from a domestic perspective.
Petersen, 27, was the top run-scorer in the 2018/19 4-Day Franchise Series when he tallied up 923 runs from nine games at an average of 61.53 with three 100s and four 50s for the Knights.
His subsequent returns for the Knights and the Dolphins in the 2019/20 (232 runs at 38.66 in five matches) and 2020/21 (484 runs at 44 in eight matches) seasons haven’t been as productive, but he has been around the national team setup since that bountiful season.
Kyle Verreynne, who’s also in the squad, pressed a very late case for Test inclusion with big runs at the back end of the 4-Day Franchise series.
Raynard van Tonder, a consistent run-scorer for the Knights, will be on South Africa ‘A’ duty.
In a three-day game for South Africa A against England in December 2019 against a bowling attack consisting of James Anderson, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran, Petersen compiled an unflustered 111 of 240 balls.
Petersen, who was born in Paarl, was part of the Proteas’ Test squad in Pakistan and took the field as a substitute and fielded at short leg.
“Without Faf, a guy like Keegan Petersen comes into the mix now. He’s been waiting on the sidelines for quite a while now,” Elgar told reporters on Saturday.
“There’s a massive opportunity for him now if he gets selected and he needs to take his opportunity when it comes.
“There’s a lot of room for him to make an impact in our batting line-up. He’s got a few years under his best from a domestic perspective and he’s scored a fair number of runs the past few seasons and that’s been good for us.”
Elgar, who was somewhat stumped when asked a question about whether the travelling players had received Covid-19 vaccinations, also stated that wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock would be staying in the lower middle order.
De Kock had a rough 2020/21 summer where he was the all-format captain.
In red-ball cricket against Sri Lanka at home and Pakistan away, he managed just 74 runs from six innings at an average of 12.33.
Elgar, though, was confident that De Kock would be able to do his job from his usual batting position without the pressures of captaincy.
“Quinny will be in the position he’s been batting in for us for quite some time now. I think he’ll be best suited at number six for us,” Elgar said.