T20I series preview: England v South Africa

England and South Africa serve up an amuse bouche for cricket lovers ahead of the Test series with both teams resting a number of key players for the T20I series.

The hosts and their guests will be eager to see how their emerging talents fare as they step up onto the big stage in the abbreviated format.

England have selected uncapped leg spinner Mason Crane, allrounder Tom Curran, batsmen Liam Livingstone and Dawid Malan as well as Somerset seamer Craig Overton.

Crane has shot to prominence after spending his winter playing grade cricket in Australia culminating in him turning out for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield fixture. The young leggie bamboozled the North team in the inaugural North v South One Day series in Dubai earlier this year and has had pundits and fans clamoring for a call up.

The Cape Town-born Curran has been on the fringes of the England set up for sometime earning a call-up to the ODI side that toured the West Indies but not getting a game.

The son of former Zimbabwe allrounder Kevin, Tom Curran and his brother Sam have both been earmarked for big things in the England set up.

Malan also has a strong Cape Town connection having turned out for Bellville Cricket Club in the city’s northern suburbs in the English off-season.

The powerful Middlesex left-hander represented Boland and like Curran sports an excellent cricket pedigree with his father, also named Dawid, having played for Western Province B.

23-year-old Livingstone has impressed in his short first class career averaging 47.77 as he has raced to 1481 runs and while his T20 record is patchy he has maintained a strike-rate of 131.95 in the format.

One half of the so-called ‘Overtwins’, Craig has been in excellent form for the England Lions and Somerset, he will replace Mark Wood in the squad after the first game with the Durham seamer being released to his county after the opener.