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What's bubbling in SA's T20 test tube?

Given the chance to lead an experimental South Africa line-up, Farhaan Behardien will hope to cement a long-term place in the side Getty Images

If you don't recognise many of the names in South Africa's T20 squad, you're not alone. Only four of the group that traveled to last year's World T20 have been included to take on Sri Lanka in the first two matches of a three-game series as part of a plan to manage workloads in a year with no major tournament in this format. Here's your introduction to some of the new and new-ish faces:

Jon-Jon Smuts

Leading run-scorer in this season's domestic T20 competition with 371 runs at 41.22 and a strike rate of 144.35, 1 hundred, 1 fifty

An aggressive opening batsman from the Warriors, when Jon-Jon Smuts hits a cricket ball, it stays hit. He has been in prolific form this season, in which he has hit both the T20 hundreds he has to his name. The first came in the Africa T20 Cup, when his 102 off 63 balls gave Eastern Province a match-wining score of 199 over Gauteng. Smuts finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the competition, which Eastern Province won. His second century came for the Warriors against the Dolphins in the franchise T20 competition when he struck an unbeaten 107 off 58 balls. Smuts also played a key role in the Warriors reaching their first final in six seasons and his shortest-format skills have been picked up in international leagues. He plays for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the CPL.

Theunis de Bruyn

A non-playing member of the Test squad, 195 runs at 48.75 and a strike rate of 137.32 in South Africa's franchise T20s, 3 fifties

A young leader at 24, Theunis de Bruyn left his home franchise Titans to captain Knights this season and the decision has already paid off. He was picked in South Africa's Test squad to play Sri Lanka and was told in no uncertain terms, despite not getting a game, was told in no uncertain terms that he is next in line. But he also has shorter format ambitions. De Bruyn made his name as a feisty top-order player with a solid temperament as early as Under-17 level, when he scored 269 for Northerns against Free State at the age-group week in Grahamstown. He was part of South Africa's Under-19 squad at the 2012 World Cup, a side that included Quinton de Kock, and then played for the University of Pretoria before cracking the Titans' team. De Bruyn scored a List A century on debut for the Titans, two days after his 22nd birthday, and was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the 2014-15 one-day cup. He is studying towards an Accountancy degree.

Reeza Hendricks

Third-highest run-getter in the 2015-16 domestic T20 competition with 347 runs at 43.37 and a strike rate of 117.62, 3 fifties

A five-time T20I cap, Reeza Hendricks was briefly part of the South African long-term plan in 2014-15 when he toured Australia, played against West Indies, and was a surprise pick for the Test squad to Bangladesh, but modest returns saw them look elsewhere. He has since moved from the Knights in Bloemfontein to the Lions in Johannesburg and is now pushing for a second chance on the international stage. He is known for his energy at the crease and in the field but has faced a challenge in converting starts and stated pre-season that it was among his aims to improve that.

Heino Kuhn

Seventh-highest run-getter in this season's domestic T20 competition with 277 runs at 30.77 and a strike rate of 141.32, 1 fifty. and the leading first-class run-scorer last season

A veteran of the domestic system, Heino Kuhn may take offense to being called a new face but, at international level, that is exactly what he is. He played five T20Is between 2009 and 2011 and totaled 10 runs but has been bossing franchise cricket for several seasons since. Kuhn has been particularly prolific as a long-format cricketer but has struggled to break into the Test team and after being awarded a benefit year in 2016 by the Titans was thought to be in the twilight of his career. A solid top-order bat with an impressive range of shots, the 32-year-old Kuhn has the chance to stage a Chris Rogers-style coup and, given that he is also a wicketkeeping option, he may just be able to do so.

Mangaliso Mosehle

Eighth-highest run-scorer in this season's domestic T20 competition with 277 runs at 25.18 and a strike rate of 140.60, 1 fifty

This is the man likely to take the wicketkeeping gloves for South Africa, as he has done for the Titans, where his career began and the Lions, where he plays now. Mangaliso Mosehle is a livewire, quick between the wickets and innovative in this strokeplay. His crowning moment came when he plundered 87 off 39 balls in the 2015-16 domestic T20 final to help the Titans successfully chase 160. Mosehle provides middle-order acceleration and has been identified by the national selectors as a deputy to Quinton de Kock if needed. He was included in a South African Invitation XI to play the touring Sri Lankans in a practice match in December.

Dane Paterson

Ninth on the wicket charts in last season's domestic T20 competition with 12 wickets at 20.58 and an economy rate of 7.56; six wickets this season at 39.00 and an economy rate of 8.11

Nagging medium-pace and accuracy have made Dane Paterson one of the most dangerous death bowlers on the domestic circuit. Paterson played schools cricket for Western Province and then moved to Durban to try and break into the franchise scene but did not have success. He returned to the Cape in 2013 and was central to them winning the three-day cup in 2013-14. He took 39 wickets at 14.66 that season and has since become a Cobras regular. Paterson was named the Most Valuable Player based on the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) rankings. Paterson was named Cobras' player of the season in 2015 and picked for South Africa A against India A that winter. His recent T20 form has not been particularly impressive but he has been rewarded for previous years' grind.

Lungi Ngidi

16th on the wicket charts in this season's domestic T20 competition with nine wickets at 33.11 and an economy rate of 8.27

At just 20, Lungi Ngidi was picked on pace-bowling potential and he has plenty. He was schooled at the prestigious Hilton College in Kwa-Zulu Natal and then moved up country to the University of Pretoria. He was part of South Africa's Under-19 side in 2013 and 2015, but never made it to a World Cup. Instead, he was fast-tracked into the franchise system and participated in two successive T20 title runs with the Titans, including this season. His franchise coach Mark Boucher has likened him to South Africa spearhead Kagiso Rabada because of his ability to bowl above 140kph and bang in both a good bouncer and a searing yorker.

Captain Farhaan Behardien

Third on the run charts in this seasons' domestic T20 competition with 352 runs @ 117.33 and a strike rate of 188.23, three fifties.

With Faf du Plessis given the week off, Farhaan Behardien was a surprise pick to lead South Africa's T20 squad but it is deserved reward for one of domestic cricket's most seasoned and successful campaigners. Behardien has shown the kind of big-match temperament T20 cricket calls for in his role as a finisher for the Titans. Ultimately, South Africa would also like to use Behardien in that capacity but, given the nature of the team, he often bats so low that he has limited opportunities to show what he is capable of. Behardien has the chance to really make a name for himself in these matches and push for a more permanent place in South Africa's future squads.