There will be a new dawn for Proteas cricket today.
Recently-appointed convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang will name an expanded 25-man squad to face England in this month’s limited-overs series.
And that guarantees we will see at least a handful of promising players come into the reckoning.
Who they are remains to be seen, but we could see Faf du Plessis miss out due to his expected participation in the Pakistan Super League.
Mpitsang also made it clear that a return for AB de Villiers from international retirement for the England series is unlikely, with the IPL favourite expecting his third laaitie to be born soon.
Speaking about the IPL, that’s where the core of the squad will becoming from.
Pace men Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have been revving up in the tournament, with top wickets and top-speed records respectively.
Chris Morris has also been a handy performer with bat and ball.
Then we have skipper Quinton de Kock, who is the seventh-best runs getter in the tournament.
So we have manne who are in form and who we can expect to do the heavy lifting for South Africa against 50-over world champions England.
But what most of us will be checking out for are the new faces.
Fast bowlers like Thando Ntini, yes that's Ntini’s laaitie, Glenton Stuurman and Lizaad Williams have had the chance to send down some looseners in the current domestic 4-Day Series.
And they should come into Mpitsang’s vision for the future.
Ntini is one of the most exciting talents in our game at the moment and should get the chance to at least rub shoulders with the big boys.
Stuurman has been touted as the new Vernon Philander.
And under the guidance of Proteas legend Allan Donald at the Knights, he should get a look-in when the squad is announced.
Surprisingly, the leading wicket-takers domestically at the moment are spinners.
George Linde scalped nine in the Cobras clash with the Titans at Newlands this week.
And with England series taking place wholly in the Western Cape, Linde is a shoo-in.
Last year’s MVP in the 4-Day tournament and handy with the bat too, it could be time for the 28-year-old to make his mark in international cricket.
As a left-arm leggie, he is an interesting prospect and a weapon SA haven’t often deployed in action.
Batting-wise, things have been explosive to say the least as players look to catch Mpitsang’s eye.
There were four hundreds scored this week, with 30-year-old Sarel Erwee topping out on 199 and Jacques Snyman’s 78-ball 109 being the pick of the bunch.
Whether they have done enough to edge themselves into Proteas top-order contention alongside fellow centurion Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks and captain De Kock remains to be seen. But the middle order is where things are at.
We’ve had our problems in the recent past there.
With AB, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy all retired and Faf’s involvement still unclear,
Mpitsang has no doubt been looking for manne to step into these roles.
He’ll be happy to see Matthew Breetzke, Keegan Petersen and Kyle Verreynne put their hands up.
While Cape Cobras fans will be familiar with Verreynne, the other two have been making spore in the game.
Petersen had a great 2019 and kicked off post-Covid lockdown cricket with a knock of 109 this week for the Dolphins.
The Paarl-born batsman likes to get runs and while he is aggressive, he has the patience and concentration to play some long innings.
Then there is Breetzke, who at 22 looks set to be a star of the future.
The Warriors laaitie has been compared to Australian great Ricky Ponting for his batting style.
So Mpitsang will have his hands full as he juggles the players for his new squad.
And this is just the start of a long summer for the Proteas.
After the English have come and gone, Sri Lanka, Australia and Pakistan all come to visit for series of various formats between now and April.
With so much cricket on the horizon and the challenges of living in bio-bubbles, I suspect there will be a lot of chopping and changing to the squad in the coming months.
Players might not want to be locked up for all those series and we could see many different squads named over the summer.
It’s been a tough time for SA cricket on and off the pitch in the months since the 2019 World Cup, but I’m ready to put that all behind me and check out what’s ahead.
There are some exciting players ready to step over the ropes and do battle with the willow and the leather, so come on, summer, come on.