South Africa's Indian T20 League players promise much as T20 squad starts to take shape
The South Africans have been in terrific form in Indian T20 League 2020. They have two representatives in the top 10 of the batting charts, one outrageous impact player in the batting strike-rate chart, the leading wicket-taker and one of the quickest bowlers of the season.
Aside from the aforementioned names, quite a few others have also stepped up and proved to invaluable to their side this season. With South Africa set to take on England in a T20I series later in November, the form of their players will inspire much confidence.
How South Africa potentially line up for the T20Is immediately after and possibly the T20 World Cup next year has been a subject of immense interest right through the season after the incredible performances of their players. But a lot of that will ride on a few other factors too.
Is de Villiers still in contention?
AB de Villiers was set to make a comeback to the national team after retiring in 2018. He had announced that he would be targeting the 2020 T20 World Cup - that is now moved - to make a return to the team and had discussions with head coach Mark Boucher and the skippers before the pandemic struck a blow to those plans.
A lot of de Villiers' return was put down to his form then and the Indian T20 League was the one platform he could showcase his match readiness in. After the kind of stellar season de Villiers has had, it would have been a no-brainer for him to be in the XI if the T20 World Cup were in 2020.
However, with it moved to late 2021, it raises further questions on his availability then, one year down the lane and with potentially another Indian T20 League season in between. If he isn't keen to stretch till then, do South Africa pick him now for the T20Is vs England?
A similar quandary for Morris and Tahir
Chris Morris and Imran Tahir are two others who could form a core part of the bowling attack. While Morris has been in superb fun for Bangalore right through the season with Virat Kohli singling him out as one of their biggest differences this season, Tahir hasn't had game time at Chennai but did quite well in the Caribbean Premier League earlier this year.
Morris had volunteered out of the last few T20I series South Africa played to play around the globe, and his availability remains a question mark. There are no other questions on the pace bowling front with it sporting some of the finest bowlers in recent times in this format.
Imran Tahir, on the other hand, will be 42 when the T20 World Cup kicks off next year and isn't a sure-shot starter if he continues to be sidelined in franchise cricket. South Africa too have preferred to play Tabraiz Shamsi over him in their last couple of series.
Where does Faf bat and does Miller get a look in?
Faf du Plessis is possibly best fit to open the batting, given that he takes time to get going when batting in the middle-order. But South Africa have preferred the likes of Reeza Hendricks and Janneman Malan in the recent past and du Plessis, if he is still in their plans after giving up the captaincy, might be a better choice at the top of the order.
The other question is around David Miller who seems to have lost his reputation quite a bit in franchise cricket too. The large promise he came with hasn't been fulfilled and with Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen having taken on Miller's role. Finally, the southpaw's time in international colours might be coming to a close.
A potential XI if all go in South Africa's favour:
Janneman Malan, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Imran Tahir/Tabraiz Shamsi.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Christiaan Kotze