Black Caps to face Proteas 'development' side
South Africa look set to use their Twenty20 tangle with New Zealand as a development series with many new faces tipped to feature in the Proteas lineup.
The Proteas squad will be named tomorrow for a three-match T20 series that starts on Saturday week in Durban.
South Africa back themselves to pick up where they left off in New Zealand last summer and beat the depleted Black Caps side missing star batsmen Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder.
AB de Villiers, the elegant batsman who captains South Africa in the short versions of the game, where he also keeps wicket, is backing the prospect of fresh faces joining his squad.
He wants more specialists brought into the squad in the wake of South Africa's disappointing T20 World Cup where they failed to make the semifinals.
"You've got to keep the T20 team fresh and exciting and it's a great vehicle to get youngsters through into international cricket," De Villiers said as media in the republic started to bring the Black Caps series into focus.
"We want to try fresh faces and there will definitely be a few new names because there are youngsters who have really performed at domestic level and we need to give them a chance.
"These new players will bring different talents and skills, which is exciting."
The Proteas could name as many as six new players in their T20 mix with names like Aaron Phangiso, Hardus Viljoen, Chris Morris, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughan van Jaarsveld and Andrew Birch being bandied about.
De Villiers had some kind words for New Zealand but clearly backs his side to dominate as they did here last summer, winning, the T20, ODI and test series.
"New Zealand are always a dangerous side. They beat us in the World Cup and they're really tough to beat when they get things right," de Villiers said.
"But we know we're the favourites and if we play good cricket, then we should win.
"We have a mental advantage over them because we beat them over there at the beginning of the year.
"We may have new players, but we'll use the same strategy and follow the same game plan."