Proteas brace for dawn of new era in SA cricket
Cape Town - The Proteas will play their first match since the 2019 World Cup when they face India in the first of three T20Is in Dharamshala on Sunday.
With a new coach - or interim team director, if you prefer - in Enoch Nkwe, a new-look backroom team, a new structure and a new skipper in Quinton de Kock, it is the dawn of a new era for South African cricket.
The disappointments of the World Cup under Ottis Gibson and Faf du Plessis, where the Proteas finished 7th, are now firmly in the past.
The task over the next few weeks is for this side to get back on its feet as soon as possible and earn back the faith of a South African cricketing public that is far from convinced things will get better anytime soon.
The Proteas will play three T20Is and then three Test matches in India in what is the most daunting of opening assignments for Nkwe.
Du Plessis is not in the squad for the T20s, but he is set to return and lead in the Test series while he remains part of the long-term T20 plans with next year's World Cup in Australia in mind.
The 14-man squad for the T20Is does include a number of familiar, experienced faces, but there is certainly the feeling of starting fresh with the likes of Du Plessis, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Imran Tahir all missing.
"It's really exciting and there are a lot of things to look forward to," senior batsman David Miller said on Saturday.
"It is a young side, but there are a lot of guys who have played a lot of cricket, so the guys are experienced in each department.
"It's just a great stepping-stone. We come here to win, and we are looking forward to making a mark."
Miller acknowledged that the side's performance at the World Cup was disappointing.
"What happened at the World Cup is something to learn from. We did a few things wrong and it never came our way," he said.
"There is a new phasing in South African cricket at the moment and it's exciting times.
"We've been training really hard for the last 10 days and I think everyone is really eager to get the games going and test ourselves."
On De Kock taking over the captaincy, Miller said he would be there to offer support in any way he could.
"He's been around for many years and he's got an incredible cricket brain. It's exciting times ... a new skipper, new players and fresh faces," he said.
Play on Sunday starts at 15:30 (SA time).
Proteas T20I squad v India:
Quinton de Kock (Titans, captain), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions, vice-captain), Temba Bavuma (Lions), Junior Dala (Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (Lions), Beuran Hendricks (Lions), Reeza Hendricks (Lions), David Miller (Dolphins), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Dwaine Pretorius (Lions), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), George Linde (Cape Cobras)