South Africa Test skipper Dean Elgar said it was unfortunate for his side to miss the services of Dolphins batter Keegan Petersen for the two-Test matches against New Zealand.
Petersen tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and was subsequently ruled out from the Test squad. Western Province batter Zubayr Hamza was named as Petersen’s replacement.
Keegan Petersen was Player of the Series in India Tests
Petersen was instrumental in guiding the Proteas in their spectacular chase of 210 in the fourth innings as he scored a sharp and brisk 82 runs. He aggregated 276 runs from six innings at an average of 46, the most runs in the series from both sides.
Elgar mentioned the possibility of handing a debut to Sarel Erwee, who is the teammate of Petersen at Dolphins. Erwee scored 258 runs from three innings at an average of 86 in the recent First-Class season.
Sarel Erwee has been our backup batter: Dean Elgar
Elgar also considered Hamza, who has played five Tests for South Africa, as another potential candidate to play in the first Test against New Zealand.
“It’s just another curveball that the Proteas have to deal with. We’ve become pretty good at that of late. It’s unfortunate that ‘KP’ is going to miss out on this trip; I’d love to have seen him build on what he started in the Indian series. But these are uncertain times and these kinds of curveballs come your way, and you just have to deal with them,” Elgar said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
“Sarel Erwee has been our backup batter for quite some time. He’s had a few series now where he’s been carrying the drinks, and he’s been brilliant off the field. So I’d like to think he’s the guy who comes in. In saying that, Zubayr Hamza is another option. It’s pretty clear cut that Erwee and Hamza are the two guys who will be pushing for that No. 3 spot,” he further added.
South Africa will play both the Test matches against the Black Caps at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. The first Test starts on February 17.