Hamza set to make Test debut in Pakistan series
Zubayr Hamza was the surprise inclusion in the Proteas 13-man squad for the visiting Pakistanis after impressing the SA ‘A’ side during the winter tour to India this year.
JOHANNESBURG - If the utterances by Proteas coach Ottis Gibson are anything to go by, 23-year-old Cape Cobras batsman Zubayr Hamza could make his debut in the upcoming three-Test series against Pakistan.
Hamza was the surprise inclusion in the Proteas 13-man squad for the visiting Pakistanis after impressing the SA ‘A’ side during the winter tour to India this year.
The Cobras batsman is highly rated by his mentors at the Cape franchise as well as the National coaches at SA ‘A’ and the high-performance setups.
Gibson, speaking ahead of the series which starts with the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Boxing Day, implied that Hamza could make his debut in the series.
“Zubayr comes in highly recommended and he’s got some form and runs under his belt. He’s quite likely to play and making a debut at home will be a good thing for him and we’ll see how his career develops from there. From everything that we have heard and having spoken to his coaches, he is a very good player. He has done very well at the ‘A’ team and deserves his opportunity.”
With Hashim Amla struggling for form lately and Theunis de Bruyn who scored a 100 in the last Test match the Proteas played in Sri Lanka carrying a back niggle, Hamza could well see himself win his first cap in Centurion at the beginning of the series.
Barring fitness, de Bruyn will likely keep his spot in the side but Gibson is not ruling out a debut for young Hamza.
“Theunis is carrying a back niggle and we are going to see how he pulls up in the next couple of days but if he doesn’t recover in time, then the obvious selection would be Zubayr. He comes in from a strong performance with the bat and I’d like to see him bat live.”
The traditional New Years Test match will be played at Newlands in Cape Town, starting on 3 January until 7 January before the series concludes at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on 11 January.