England in SA

Van der Dussen, Pretorius to make debuts at Centurion

2019-12-24 17:07
Dwaine Pretorius (Gallo Images)
Dwaine Pretorius (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - While visitors England appear to have several selection headaches ahead of the first Test against South Africa in Centurion, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis said the only uncertainty in his team concerned the composition of the bowling attack which would be decided on the morning of the match after a look at the pitch.

The first - of four - Tests between the two countries will get under way on Boxing Day at 10:00.

Du Plessis confirmed on Tuesday that Rassie van der Dussen would make his Test debut, batting at No 5 behind Zubayr Hamza at three and himself at four.

Du Plessis also indicated that all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius would also win a first cap, batting at No 7.

Van der Dussen, 30, has played 18 ODIs and nine T20Is for South Africa, while Pretorius, also 30, has played 22 ODIs and six T20Is.

Meanwhile, Du Plessis enthused about the value that former international stars Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis have brought to his team - but warned that good preparation would mean "nothing" if it was not backed up by performances.

"We will get measured on the way that we play," he said.

"We’ve done the right things this week as a team and now it’s about going out there and putting in performances on the field."

Du Plessis said the influence of head coach Boucher and batting consultant Kallis had been like a breath of fresh air.

"There’s a real energy in the squad, a real positive feel to what we’ve been doing, how we have been training in the last week and the information that’s been spoken about."

Du Plessis said that although he was now a highly-experienced international player, the "wisdom" that had come into the team set-up had helped him as well.

"You almost ask, why have these guys not been here for the last 10 years," he said.

"It’s so important to have guys like that in a dressing room. If you look around at international cricket, other teams have got that. You look at the Australian team, you look at (Justin) Langer, (Ricky) Ponting, (Steve) Waugh."

Du Plessis also paid tribute to opening bowler Vernon Philander, who announced on Monday that he would retire from international cricket after the series.

"Vern has been the leader of the attack for a long time in all conditions, especially in South Africa," said Du Plessis.

"He’s a huge weapon for us. I think this series is going to be a big one for him. He looks very, very motivated, full of energy. He wants to leave this team with a big performance."


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