South African cricket fans will soon have their own KP to cheer on, with Keegan Petersen set to replace the retired Faf du Plessis in the Proteas’ Test batting lineup.
Du Plessis, 36, retired from red-ball cricket following South Africa’s unsuccessful tour of Pakistan in February – a series they lost 2-0.
With 69 Tests to his name, the former national team captain was part of the furniture at the Proteas, with his retirement leaving a big hole in the squad.
Asked if former captain Quinton de Kock, who stepped down from his leadership role at the end of that Pakistan tour, will the void left in the top order, new skipper Dean Elgar reveals that it’s 27-year-old Paarl-born Petersen who will actually be getting the nod.
Elgar says: “Quinny [de Kock] will be in his position that he’s been for quite some time now. “He’ll be batting at No.5 or six, I think Quinny is best suited at No.6 for us.
“Without Faf [du Plessis] there, I think a guy like Keegan Petersen comes into the mix now.
“He’s been waiting on the sidelines for quite some time now and there’s a massive opportunity for him now – if he is selected and he has to take that opportunity when it comes.
“There’s a lot of room for him to try and make an impact in our batting lineup.”
Petersen started his first-class career with Boland in 2012 and also played for the Cape Cobras, before joining the Knights in the 2016/17 season.
Currently on the books of KwaZulu-Natal, Petersen has impressed enough on the domestic front, where he averages 40.94 in First-Class cricket, to make his Test debut on the Proteas’ tour of the West Indies.
With the first Test of two Tests starting next Thursday, Petersen says of possibly making his debut: “It’s been a long journey, I’ve been part of the First-Class system for eight, nine, 10 years now already. I’ve been around, so for me to get a go in this side means a lot. I know where I come from and I know the journey has been tough as well.
“This is what we work for and this is what we dream of as kids...”
He adds of replacing Du Plessis: “I’ve been nervous for a while now already... I know I’ll have big boots to fill. If I do get the chance, I’m obviously extremely excited to represent my country.”