ICC World Cup 2023 South Africa Squad

South Africa is a strong contender for a semi-final spot in the 2023 World Cup.

ICC World Cup 2023 South Africa Squad
Dillip Mohanty

Written by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-10-02

South Africa look ready for yet another ICC Cricket World Cup after naming a strong 15-man squad for the event. The South African lineup will be high on confidence after recently beating a strong Australia side 3-2 in the one-day series played in home conditions.

The team will be led by 33-year-old right-handed batter Temba Bavuma, who took over reigns in 2021 has won 13 games out of 24 in which he has led the side. His record as a batter has also been brilliant despite the added pressure of the leading role. In 23 innings, he has scored 1032 runs at an average of 54.31 with 4 centuries and 3 half centuries.

South Africa Squad for the World Cup 2023

  1. Temba Bavuma (c)
  2. Gerald Coetzee
  3. Quinton de Kock
  4. Reeza Hendricks
  5. Marco Jansen
  6. Heinrich Klaasen
  7. Keshav Maharaj
  8. Aiden Markram
  9. David Miller
  10. Lungi Ngidi
  11. Andile Phehlukwayo
  12. Kagiso Rabada
  13. Tabraiz Shamsi
  14. Rassie van der Dussen
  15. Lizaad Williams

South Africa has the best batting unit

South Africa have a good mix of young and experienced players. Having made his ODI debut back in 2016, Bavuma has only played 30 ODIs but has a brilliant record with 1367 runs at an average of 54.68 and a healthy strike rate over 90. He has been South Africa’s leading run scorer since January 2022 with 868 runs at an average and strike rate of 57.86 and 93 respectively 4 out of his 5 ODI hundreds have been hit in the same period.

Top Order (1-7) Batting Average, In ODIs since 2022

TOP ORDER (POSITION 1-7) BATTING AVERAGEIN ODIS SINCE 2022.png

Quinton de Kock is another senior player in the side and will enter his third World cup. De Kock has already made it clear that the upcoming mega event will be the final ODI series of his career having already called time on his Test career in 2021. Thirty year old de Kock has a modest record in the 17 World cup matches he has featured in. With 4 centuries, the keeper batter has churned only 450 runs with 4 half centuries and an average of 30. Since 2022 January, de Kock has scored 821 runs at an average of 41 with just 1 century and 4 fifties. In the 10 ODIs he played this year; he has scored 343 at an average of 34.3 with only 1 half century. His lack of form will be an issue faced by the Proteas this year.

Reeza Hendricks will be the team’s backup opener with skipper Bavuma likely to open the innings with de Kock as Aiden Markram is now slotted down the order at number 4. Hendricks burst on the scene in 2018 with a century on debut versus Sri Lanka. That ton remains his only three figured innings in the format as he has got 761 runs in 29 innings. Since 2022, he has featured in only 5 ODIs scoring 198 runs with just 2 fifties.

Having a look at the numbers since January 2022, the Proteas opener have an average of 42.3 per wicket and the number dips down to 39.3 if the number 3 batter is also added to the situation. The South African batters have a good strike rate (102.8) in the first powerplay and they are only second to England.  In the middle overs (11-40), the strike rate hovers around a-run-a-ball (100.3). In the death overs, the strike rate of South African batters is the best in the world (143).  The Proteas also have the second best boundary percentage at this stage of an innings.

Middle order is miles ahead of the rest


Good sign for South Africa is that their middle order, since Markram’s placement at number 4, David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen’s good form has performed well and has the best average of 47 runs per wicket. The 2nd best middle order (no.s 4-7) in the world, New Zealand has an average of 34.8. Taking the whole batting order in consideration (no.s 1-7), South Africa tops the list averaging 43.1 runs per wicket.

Aiden Markram solidifies the middle order at number 4 with 822 runs in 21 innings at an average of 48.35 and a strike rate of 108.3. Due to his prowess, South Africa has the best number 4 in the world at this time. The number 4 batters for South Africa have an average of 47.3, next comes England with 40.5. Markram has batted at that position in 21 games out of 24. His off breaks can also come in handy in Indian conditions where teams with a spin bowling allrounder can have things going their way.

Rassie van der Dussen has the fifth best batting average amongst active players in the format. He has scored 825 runs at 48.52 striking those at 93.2 since 2022 in 20 innings.  Solidifying the middle order are 2 more contenders: the experienced David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen. Batting at number 6, Miller provides that left handed attacking option in the line-up. He made his international debut in 2010, was part of the 2015 and 2019 World cup squads and averages 51.11 in the tournament. Since 2022, he has become an irreplaceable part of the team with 723 runs under his belt with an average & strike rate of 55.61 and 116.8 respectively.

Middle Order (4-7) Batting Average, In ODIs since 2022

MIDDLE ORDER (POSITION 4-7) BATTING AVERAGEIN ODIS SINCE 2022.png

Klaasen is a batter with a strong base. He has the capability of playing according to the situation, rotate strike, convert ones into twos and can also hit a long ball. Since January 2022, he has scored 710 runs at 54.61 with a strike rate of 133.7. The presence of Bavuma, Markram, van der Dussen, Miller and Klaasen makes the South African lineup one of the most fearful in the tournament. De Kock has an ODI batting average of 47.12 in India and if he starts to hit the ball as he wants, South Africa might just go the distance this year.

Lack of spin all-rounders

With Aiden Markram’s ability to bowl some overs of off-breaks, South Africa have invested in a couple of fast bowling allrounders in Marco Jansen and Andile Phehlukwayo. The latter wasn’t in the team’s initial World cup plans but injuries to Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala asked for reinforcements with Phehlukwayo and Lizaad Williams stepping in the squad.
Phehlukwayo bowls medium pace and also featured in the previous edition where he scored 133 runs in 9 matches and picked up 11 wickets. In his 76-match career, the 27-year-old has scored 781 runs and taken 89 wickets. Since 2022 he has featured in just 8 matches scoring 50 runs and taking 9 wickets. Recently he scored 38* in 19 balls against Australia and later picked up a wicket in the same game.

The 23-year-old Marco Jansen who made his debut last year and has impressed all with his pace, bounce and ability to bat at the fag end of the innings is the first choice allrounder in the line-up. With an experience of 14 games, he has hit 265 runs and has taken 18 wickets with a five-wicket haul as well. 8 of his 18 wickets in ODIs have been picked in the final 10 overs. The youngster displayed solid form with both bat and ball in the 5th ODI against Australia scoring 47 in 23 balls and then taking 5/39 which had wickets of the top 5 Aussie batters in the lineup.

Weak new ball and end over bowlers

Known to produce some world class fast bowlers over the years, South Africa dealt with a major blow when Anrich Nortje was ruled out of the squad. The fast bowling attack will be led by the now experienced Kagiso Rabada with Lungi Ngidi, Gerald Coetzee and Lizaad Williams as fast bowling options. The team will certainly miss the services of retired attacking leg spinner Imran Tahir but have picked Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi for the spin friendly Indian conditions.

Lungi Ngidi has been the most successful wicket taker for the Proteas since 2022 with 24 wickets in 18 innings. 9 of those wickets have been taken in the first powerplay. Kagiso Rabada has featured in only 10 games and has picked up 18 scalps at an impressive average of 26.38 and a strike rate of 29.1. Young Gerald Coetzee made his debut this year and in 6 ODIs has picked up 11 wickets with both his average and strike rate being under 30. Making a comeback in this team is Lizaad Williams, as one of the replacement players. He made his ODI debut back in 2021 playing a solitary match versus Ireland where he picked up a wicket for 62 runs.

Bowling Strike Rate in Powerplay (1-10 Overs), In ODIs Since 2022

BOWLING STRIKE RATE IN POWER PLAY (1-10) OVERS IN ODIS SINCE 2022.pngTabraiz Shamsi has been the more successful spinner for the team. The left-arm unorthodox spinner has taken 23 wickets in 14 innings averaging 29.91. His economy of 6.06 might be a concern. Shamsi has played just one ODI in India last year where he picked up just one wicket for the expense of 89 runs. Since 2022, Maharaj has featured in 16 ODIs where he picked 18 wickets at an average of 33.72 taking a wicket every 42.7th ball. He finished the recent ODI series against Australia as the joint highest wicket taker taking 8 wickets in 4 matches. His good run of form in African pitches makes his selection promising for the Indian conditions.

Since January 2022, the South African attack has the 4th best strike rate amongst the participants in the upcoming World cup. The South Africans have picked only 31 wickets in the first powerplay in 23 matches with Ngidi’s 9 wickets the most for the team in this period. Shamsi’s 16 and Maharaj’s 18 wickets in the middle overs have helped the strike rate to get better to 34.8. Their bowling attack has struck 41 times in 15 innings during the death overs with only Netherlands and India having a worse strike rate in that phase. Jansen with 8 wickets and then Shamsi and Nortje (7 each) have been the main perpetrators but with Nortje’s absence in the unit, the South Africa bowling attack will have to rely on experience and the current form which they displayed in the recent ODIs against Australia.

With the absence of Anrich Nortje and retirements of senior pros like Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, JP Duminy, etc. the Proteas have retained 8 players who were part of the previous World cup. Their current form has been tremendous as they came from behind against a strong Australian team and drubbed them 3-2 at home. Most of the boxes in the batting, fielding and bowling departments were ticked in the series and when the men in green take center stage against qualifiers Sri Lanka on October 7, they would hope that they continue with the same momentum and remove the tag of ‘chokers’ this time around. 

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Dillip Mohanty

Dillip Mohanty

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.

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