West Indies vs South Africa
19-year-old quick has big future, says captain, after three-wicket debut
Seales, 19, had played just one first-class game before he was thrust into the Test team against South Africa – and that came last winter on West Indies’ tour of New Zealand – but Kraigg Brathwaite, the captain, said he saw enough in that display to know he was ready for higher honours.
“The first time I saw him was in New Zealand, and I just knew he had a natural length,” Brathwaite said. “Not all bowlers have that natural length, and he obviously swings the ball. So I was not surprised by his performance in this game, or for the future.”
Seales finished South Africa’s only innings of the first Test with figures of 3 for 75 in 21 overs, having bagged his maiden wicket in his first over of the game, as Keegan Petersen spliced an edge to Jason Holder at second slip. He followed up with two more in consecutive overs at the end of the first day, before Quinton de Kock took the match away with a superb 141 not out.
“I think he’s something special and obviously he’s quite young, he’s only played one first-class game,” Brathwaite said. “That says a lot. Even at practice, there are different little things that he does with the ball, and what he says to back it up, is quite phenomenal. For sure, he’s one for the future, big time.
“Fast bowling is hard work. In this game, he bowled over 20 overs and he never once complained. Obviously he’s young, but he was strong, his pace was up throughout, and I really think he’s something special for sure.”
With his strong approach to the crease and powerful shoulders though his action, Seales drew some mid-match comparison with West Indies’ star of the second innings, Kagiso Rabada, who mopped up the resistance with figures of 5 for 34, his first five-wicket haul since March 2018.
“He is a great prospect for West Indies,” Rabada said. “They have always produced those who can bowl really well, right from the 1980s. They are continuing the prestigious lineage of producing fast bowlers.
“He has come to the fore,” he added. “I don’t know how much he tried to copy me. I think he is just natural. I don’t see a huge similarity, maybe a small similarity between our bowling. He is a good bowler and he showed that. I wish him all the best.”
Reflecting on West Indies’ failings in the first Test, Brathwaite rued their collapse to 97 all out on the first day of the match, after which their defeat was only ever a matter of time. However, he denied he had erred in choosing to bat first.
“We saw today some variable bounce, the pitch was a little dry, but we didn’t bat well in the first innings so we were under pressure from the start.,” he said. “We were always on the back foot.”
“[South Africa] are quality bowlers but even batting second we thought they would be quality. In the second Test, we’ve got to bat better. As a group we bowled well, and Seales in his first Test was magnificent. [Roston] Chase showed fight today, but that first innings hampered us a lot.”
“We’ll take a little break and come back stronger,” he added. “For me it’s about getting your mind in the right place. It’s more mental than technical.”