Proteas, India in quest for ODI redemption at pink Wanderers

Proteas batsman Tony De Zorzi is set to open the batting with Reeza Hendricks against India. Picture: Samuel Shivambu / BackpagePix

Proteas batsman Tony De Zorzi is set to open the batting with Reeza Hendricks against India. Picture: Samuel Shivambu / BackpagePix

Published Dec 16, 2023


The Proteas and India will both begin their journeys of redemption when the three-match ODI series starts at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Both teams enjoyed creditable Cricket World Cup campaigns, but fell short when it mattered most once again.

Despite breaking records throughout the World Cup, the Proteas are yet to scale their Everest after losing a fifth semi-final. The fact that it was to eventual champions Australia only made it more galling.

And that’s where we get to India. The hosts were untouchable during the 10 matches leading up to the World Cup final in Ahmedabad. Everything pointed to Rohit Sharma’s team emulating MS Dhoni’s charges of 2011 by winning the World Cup on home soil.

But nobody informed the Australia of the script as they silenced 135,000 spectators inside the Narendra Modi Stadium and millions more around the subcontinent with an emphatic performance when it mattered most.

The lost opportunity has taken its toll on India’s most senior players with captain Rohit Sharma and superstar batter Virat Kohli opting to sit out the white-ball component of this South African tour in a bid to recharge for the Test series, starting on Boxing Day.

The Proteas will also have to discover what the ODI world is without the now-retired Quinton de Kock, while skipper Temba Bavuma and fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Gerald Coetzee and Marco Jansen are all resting or ruled out through injury.

This has provided an opportunity for an old face like Kyle Verreynne to be recalled after his sparkling form for Western Province in the Cricket SA 1-Day Cup.

There are also a host of fresh young talents in the squad, with the road to the home 2027 World Cup being plotted already, and WP duo Nandre Burger and Mihlali Mpongwana earning maiden ODI call-ups.

Western Province, who strode to the Cricket SA 1-Day Cup trophy unbeaten, are well represented with top-order batter Tony de Zorzi expected to take Bavuma’s place alongside Reeza Hendricks.

Tomorrow has extra gravitas with the Bullring set to transform into a pink extravaganza in the annual tribute to breast cancer survivors.

The Proteas have a proud “Pink Day” record, and will be hoping to maintain their edge over India.

The visitors have been the guests on two previous occasions with the Proteas winning both matches comfortably, by a mammoth 141 runs in 2013 and by five wickets in 2018.

India, who will be led by KL Rahul, will also look to begin their new era on a positive note. The visitors have also included a host of promising youngsters such as Tilak Varma, Sai Sudharsan and Rinku Singh, who showed his ability during the T20I series with a sparkling half-century at St George’s Park in the second match.


Proteas: Aiden Markram (captain), Ottniel Baartman, Nandre Burger, Tony de Zorzi, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Mihlali Mpongwana, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.

India: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (captain), Sanju Samson, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar.

Start: 10am, TV: SuperSport