He has made a mark in T20s in leagues around the world but does not possess first-class experience yet
Hard-hitting opener batter Dewald Brevis can expect a David Warner-like transition to international cricket as South Africa look to deepen their player pool under a new coaching structure.
Former under-19 coach Shukri Conrad, who was in charge of the age-group team at the 2022 World Cup, where Brevis was the top-scorer, and former Central Stags coach Rob Walter, were announced as South Africa’s new red and white-ball coaches respectively and both are keen to fast-track young talent with Brevis top of mind.
He has become the most-talked-about batter in South Africa, more so when he struck 162 runs off 57 balls in a domestic T20 match in October, a week before the national men’s side failed to chase 159 in a must-win T20 World Cup match against Netherlands and calls for his immediate promotion grew.
Enoch Nkwe, South Africa’s Director Cricket, has heard them and has a plan to get Brevis into the senior set-up soon.
“There’s a lot of noise around Brevis. We know how good he is. He has shown it in SA20,
he has played some good cricket and he has been pretty consistent in T20 cricket,” Nkwe said. “In terms of youngsters, the reality moving forward, we might have to do a David-Warner type of approach where there is going to be the transition phase from under-19 cricket into professional cricket through T20 and then ODI and then Test cricket. That’s something we foresee happening in the future.”
Warner, who played his 100th Test against South Africa at the MCG, had just 20 domestic white-ball caps to his name before making his international debut in a T20I against South Africa and played in only 11 first-class matches before his Test debut.
Brevis already has more experience than that in shorter formats. He has played in 37 T20s including at the IPL, CPL and SA20, and six List A matches but has yet to play a first-class match. As part of a strong Titans’ squad, who are third in the four-day domestic competition, and boasts names like Test captain Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, and Heinrich Klaasen, it has been difficult for Brevis to get a look-in but playing him in longer formats is top of Nkwe’s mind.
“We understand someone like Brevis has a lot of cricket to play and now we have to see how we get him to that longer format? We know that he can offer a lot to South African cricket,” Nkwe said.
Asked specifically whether Conrad and Walter have been involved in discussions about Brevis, Nkwe would not be drawn into anything more than reiterating their commitment to development. “Both coaches are big believers in looking after the younger generation but also not just throwing them in the deep end,” he said. “It’s about having a very clear detailed plan of every individual who has been identified and how they are going to form part of the Proteas set-up.”
Ultimately, the decision of whether Brevis plays for South Africa will not lie with Conrad and Walter alone. Selection convener Victor Mpitsang and Patrick Moroney are the other two people involved in picking players and, though the coaching set-up has changed, both are contracted until the end of the year. They will be in charge of naming the group of players who will take on England in three World Cup Super League ODIs later this month. Given Brevis’ form – he struck an unbeaten 70 off 41 balls in the SA20 opener and 42 off 34 balls in the third game – he could be a wildcard pick for what are crucial matches for South Africa. They need to win at least one of the ODIs to remain in contention for automatic qualification for this year’s 50-over World Cup and with Nkwe saying the T20 and ODI formats are “close to each other,” it may be time for Brevis to graduate to the big time.
The squad is expected to be announced later this week but Walter will not be in charge of it just yet. The new coaches begin work next month and an interim appointment will be made for the England series.