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Ken Borland

Petersen reveals himself, makes No.3 his own, now ruled out of NZ tour

Posted on February 25, 2022 by Ken

Keegan Petersen revealed himself as one of South Africa’s brightest batting talents in the series against India, but the man who made the No.3 position his own has now suffered the disappointment of being ruled out of the tour to New Zealand due to a positive Covid test. This does, however, potentially open the way for an exciting young batsman like Ryan Rickelton to make his long-awaited debut.

Petersen, who is asymptomatic, has been replaced in the squad by Western Province talent Zubayr Hamza.

But Petersen’s misfortune, announced on the morning of the team’s departure for New Zealand, could well be just the break the 25-year-old Rickelton has been waiting for. The Central Gauteng Lions batsman has been part of the Proteas squad since the tour to Pakistan a year ago, but is yet to catch a game.

Rickelton has been in exceptional form in the domestic four-day competition this season, and scores of 90 and a match-saving 102 not out for the Lions against Western Province at Newlands last weekend took his tally this summer to 473 runs in five innings, at an average of 118.25, with three centuries.

But as much as one would like to see a new talent on the international stage, you have to wonder if the Proteas selectors won’t use Petersen’s absence as a lifeline for Aiden Markram.

Markram has scored just 140 runs in his last nine innings, with one half-century, and there was a strong possibility he was going to lose his opening spot in New Zealand to the uncapped Sarel Erwee, who is averaging 86 in four-day cricket this season.

But both Markram and Erwee could conceivably fill Petersen’s No.3 spot. Rickelton is also a top-order batsman, comfortable in the top three, but choosing two uncapped batsmen in Erwee and Rickelton could be too much of a risk for the selectors, so it will be interesting to see which option they choose.

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