New-look T20 squad eager to make an impact


The Proteas T20 squad will be looking to continue with the winning trend set by the Test and ODI squads in the upcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka.

The series starts at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.

The Proteas hold a 100% series win record after an impressive start to the season, and have the opportunity to add another series trophy to the cabinet.

Captain Farhaan Behardien says the squad will not be taking their opposition and the series lightly, especially in the absence of some of the regulars in the team.

He commended the selectors for rewarding performances in the CSA T20 Challenge, and hopes the series will grow the depth of the resources available to the national side.

Behardien said to the media at SuperSport Park on Thursday:“Those guys are tried and tested cricketers for South Africa, Faf (Du Plessis), JP (Duminy), Hash (Amla), Quinny (De Kock), Kagiso (Rabada).

“The onus and the responsibility is on this group of players to carry that momentum. Sri Lanka hasn’t done too well with the red ball but I’m sure they are looking forward to playing some white-ball cricket.

“Our practice sessions have been intense over the last few days, the guys are keen to impress. The batting, bowling and fielding has been intense, all the players are keen to impress the coaches so hopefully tomorrow we can hit Sri Lanka with the right intensity.

“Yes, some players are resting, but these are the best T20 players in the country.

“They come into the series with a lot of form, it is an exciting time for South African cricket, we get to have a look at six new faces. We have to broaden that particular group of players if we want to grow and follow a succession plan whenever the established players do retire.”

Behardien says it will be extra special to make his captaincy debut at his home ground of 11 years, and hopes to follow a leadership philosophy that will empower the players to make good decisions under pressure.

He said of the captaincy: “It’s quite surreal.

“Even though we have been training hard this week, we’ve had meetings, we’ve been together as a group, I suppose tomorrow it will sink in. It’s a full house at SuperSport Park tomorrow and I will be driving into the stadium with a different purpose.

“Normally you come in, you hit balls, do your catching, but now I will be discussing tactics and strategy with the players, I will have to do interviews and press conferences.

“It is slightly different to being a normal player, but I’m excited, it’s a very proud moment of my career.”

The match is scheduled to start at 18h00 local time. Tickets for the match have been sold out.