First since 1995: Debutant to captain South Africa's Test side in New Zealand
Proteas uncapped debutant Neil Brand has been appointed as the skipper for South Africa's upcoming two-Test tour to New Zealand, scheduled to commence on February 4. This decision marks a significant moment as Brand will be the first player to lead an international team on a Test debut since Lee Germon captained New Zealand in 1995.
The 14-member squad includes six players who have not yet played in international Tests. Duanne Olivier, with 15 Tests under his belt, is the most experienced player in the lineup. Interestingly, the touring party comprises only three individuals from the ongoing series against India - Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham and Zubayr Hamza, the latter being a replacement for the injured Temba Bavuma.
Notably, the first-choice bowling attack will be absent from the series, which holds significant importance in the World Test Championship.
Star Proteas players will be busy with SA20 league
Due to their involvement in the SA20, starting on January 10, a majority of the players will be unavailable. This includes notable names such as Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, Tristan Stubbs, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Nandre Burger, Wiaan Mulder, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Keshav Maharaj. Dean Elgar, although not participating in the T20 tournament, has announced his retirement from Test cricket in the upcoming year.
The plans of red-ball coach Shukri Conrad faced a last-minute setback when Tony de Zorzi, originally slated to open the batting for South Africa in New Zealand, was signed by Durban's Super Giants on Thursday morning.
Despite this, South Africa has managed to assemble a squad with eight players having prior Test experience, accumulating a total of 50 Test matches among them.