West Indies believes it has its best chance in 30 years to defeat an unsettled South Africa as the two-Test series begins at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground on Thursday. Kraigg Brathwaite’s men are unbeaten in their last four Tests — a 2-0 triumph in Bangladesh and drawn matches at home against Sri Lanka.
West Indies goes into the campaign ranked just above a Proteas team reeling from successive heavy defeats in two Tests in Pakistan.
South Africa also has senior opening batsman Dean Elgar installed as Test captain following the retirement of Faf du Plessis from the traditional format.
West Indies suffered a setback leading up to the opening Test when fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was ruled out through injury.
Though it opens up the prospect of 19-year-old pacer Jayden Seales making his Test debut, his lack of experience — he has played just one First Class match — could see the selectors opt for Alzarri Joseph.
Brathwaite, Joseph and senior seamer Kemar Roach have all benefited from stints on the English county circuit following the end of the Sri Lanka series.
The likely teams: West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (Capt.), Shai Hope, Nkrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder, Joshua da Silva (wk), Rahkeem Cornwall, Alzarri Joseph, and Kemar Roach.
South Africa: Dean Elgar (Capt.), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Keegan Petersen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Lungi Ngidi.