Zubayr Hamza of Cape Cobras Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
It's always great to see a new face make an impact in sport.

It’s exciting for all parties - fans, teammates and, of course, the lucky one making his debut.

In this case, it’s young Cape Town batsman Zubayr Hamza being called up to the Proteas Test squad for the series against Pakistan over the festive season.

And for anyone who has seen the laaitie play, Proteas fans can get very excited.

We don’t get to see much of the domestic first-class game on the TV anymore, so for those out of the loop, if the kid gets his kans, coach Ottis Gibson will be happy with the selectors’ decision.

For the Cape Cobras, Hamza has been a reliable run scorer in the middle order.

With an average of plus 48 in the SuperSport Series and boasts over 3 500 runs, with nine tons and 25 fifties stamped on his bat.

That’s all fine and dandy to earn a national-team call-up, but what would have impressed Gibson and the selectors is Hamza’s ability to take that next step.

Every time he has been asked to take his game to the next level, the righthander has found that gear.

Just look at his performances in the recent SA ‘A’ tour to India.

Hamza looked at home on the subcontinent, nevermind having a Protea on his chest.

In his first series away, he got a 104 in the warm-up game against India’s Board President’s XI, plus a 63 in the first ‘unofficial’ Test and then capped the series with a 93 in the second.

And all of that was built on his brilliant form in the Cape Cobras’ last season when he scored three fifties and two hundreds in his last five first-class games.

With Pakistan as a first opponent at Test level, he will have fiery pace and wicked spin to cope with and judging by his time in India, he should be fine.

In a batting line-up missing AB de Villiers, Hamza can add some spark with his positive strokeplay.

Competing with Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn, who have both had inconsistent displays for the Proteas recently, for a place in the team, a purposeful innings will be very convincing.

Looking at the rest of the squad for the three-match series, we are looking a little short on bowling options.

That’s nogal odd from coach Ottis, who loves himself a fast bowler.

With rising star Lungi Ngidi out injured, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn are the only out-and-out speedsters at the West Indian’s disposal.

Duanne Olivier will add some heavy balls, while Vernon Philander will nag and trick his targets and Keshav Maharaj will be the spin option.

Hamza will feel at home with India tour mate Olivier in the squad with him.

Frankly, I would have loved to see more new faces to join Hamza, but unfortunately, another SA ‘A’ alumnus, Anrich Nortjie, is injured after impressing recently.

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