The Cricketer
Owen Riley Owen Riley

ENGLAND V SOUTH AFRICA: T20 SERIES PREVIEW

Three-match T20 series offers glimpse at next generation

And just like that, the world is leaving us. The Champions Trophy is over and the international summer reconvenes with a three-match T20 series against South Africa.

With the Test series rapidly approaching, both teams have shuffled their packs significantly offering us a chance glance an eye over the next generation.

For England there’s no Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Joe Root or Ben Stokes. Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan and Craig Overton are all potential debutants.

South Africa will be without Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis - AB de Villiers will captain in his absence - and Kagiso Rabada.

Ones to watch

Mason Crane

The leg-spinner made headlines earlier in the year becoming the first overseas player to play Sheffield Shield cricket for New South Wales since Imran Khan.

He continued to catch the eye in the North-South series, taking 4 for 1 in a spell and finishing with figures of 4 for 39 in third match to secure a 3-0 victory for the South.

Crane did not feature for Hampshire in the early season, a cause for consternation outside of the Ageas Bowl. He has however featured more recently taking 11 wickets at 27.27 in three matches, including 5 for 40 at Taunton in Hampshire’s 90-run victory. The 20-year-old also picked up 14 wickets at 27.43 in the One-Day Cup.

Crane turned heads when called up by New South Wales

What’s AB got left in the locker?

I feel somewhat an ignoramus even asking the question, such is the man’s capability. But as Arsenal fans keep telling us, all good stories have an ending. De Villiers had a disappointing Champions Trophy and he won’t be displaying his talents in white clothing this summer. This could be the last time we see this sublime cricketer playing for South Africa on English soil. Let’s hope it’s not, and let’s hope for cricket’s sake he comes out blazing this week.

Liam Livingstone

In our latest issue Tanya Aldred spoke with Lancashire’s Livingstone, asking him if he knows how close he is to an England call up.

“No! Things will happen when they need to happen. But I’m very confident in my ability that I’d be ready. “People describe me as fearless and I think you can see that in the way I play."

129 from 83 balls against South Africa A at the start of June, including 10 fours and eight sixes would attest to that statement.

Livingstone has been in fine form for England Lions

Tom Curran

The Surrey bowler has long been on the radar without picking up his first international cap. After joining up with England’s one-day squad in West Indies earlier this year, we can expect to see him make his debut.

The senior Curran has taken nine wickets (Sam has taken 17) in Surrey’s journey to the One-Day Cup Final, the third year running that Surrey have reached the final.

Eoin Morgan could hand Tom Curran his international debut

Predictions

With plenty of cricket to come between now and the winter, this series offers a chance for England to rest some players, and have a look at the future. Given the chance, expect Liam Livingstone to make a strong case for his inclusion in white-ball cricket moving forward.

Squads

England squad: Eoin Morgan*, Jonathan Bairstow† (available for the first two matches of the series), Sam Billings†, Jos Buttler†, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton (available for the last two matches of the series), Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy, David Willey, Mark Wood (available for the first match of the series).

South Africa squad: AB de Villiers*, Farhaan Behardien, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Mangaliso Mosehle†, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi, JJ Smuts.

Fixtures

  • First T20I: Wednesday 21 June, Ageas Bowl, Southampton (6.30pm) 
  • Second T20I: Friday 23 June, Taunton (5pm) 
  • Third T20I: Sunday 25 June, Cardiff (2.30pm)