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Pieter Malan to make a controversial Test debut at Cape Town as Proteas miss transformation target

The second Test will be held at Newlands, Cape Town from January 3 onwards.

Pieter Malan
Pieter Malan. (Photo by Anne Laing/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The new-look South Africa team under coach Mark Boucher and CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith played amazingly well against England team in the first Test match at Centurion and won the game promisingly. Now the focus has shifted to the next Test match to be played in Cape Town and eyes are also on South Africa’s team combination as well.

The Proteas have lost their opener Aiden Markram after he fractured his finger during fielding and will be out for eight weeks after he undergoes surgery. Two South African players had already made their debuts in Centurion, with Rassie van der Dussen and Dwaine Pretorius impressing in their first outings. Now it seems Markram will be replaced by Pieter Malan, but the choice is being deemed as controversial.

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South Africa failing to meet transformation targets due to injuries

Proteas head coach Mark Boucher confirmed the inclusion of Pieter Malan as a replacement for Markram in the Newlands Test match. “Pieter Malan was selected in the squad. For us to go messing around with the opening position wouldn’t be clever. Pieter Malan has done a lot of good work over a long period of time. It’s his home ground. At the moment, we are swinging towards having a straight swap for the opening batsman,” Boucher was quoted as saying by news18.com.

However, the choice is being deemed highly controversial given that the team management has failed to meet its transformation target during the first Test as they fielded only four players of colour, including one African. Things have been further complicated due to a hip injury to vice-captain Temba Bavuma and Lungi Ngidi, who has been ruled out of the series altogether.

Boucher said that Bavuma was still experiencing pain in his side and with Van Der Dussen scoring a good half-century on debut, it makes it hard for him to be left out. “If I look at our middle order now it would be very tough for us to leave Rassie (van der Dussen) out. He played a very important knock in this Test match,” said Boucher, who added that the coaching staff would “continue to work with Temba in a very specific way to try to get Temba to be the best player he can be,” Boucher added.

The second Test will be held at Newlands, Cape Town from January 3 onwards.

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