Related LinksNews : Misfiring batsmen on final chance - Gayle
Players/Officials: Albie Morkel | Kieron Pollard
Matches: West Indies v South Africa at North Sound
Series/Tournaments: South Africa tour of West Indies
Teams: South Africa | West Indies
The Big Picture
The World Twenty20 has been and gone, and while the tournament itself was an undoubted success, for the two teams who line up in Antigua on Wednesday, it was another anticlimactic affair. West Indies believed that home advantage could help propel them to their first piece of ICC silverware since 2004; South Africa believed that their experienced outfit could quash that lingering suspicion that they crumble when the pressure is at its most intense.
Alas, both teams were dumped out of the tournament in the Super Eights, and the recriminations for the South Africans have been particularly long and loud. Despite boasting two of the most fearsome pace bowlers in the tournament in Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, not to mention the canny Charl Langeveldt, it was their batsmen who struggled to lay the necessary foundations for victory.
Stalwarts such as Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, Mark Boucher and even the inspirational Graeme Smith were made to look old by livelier and hungrier opponents - not least the eventual champions, England - and with recriminations underway at the selectorial level, the coming weeks could well be a last hurrah for many members of South Africa's limited-overs set-up.
Form guide (most recent first)
South Africa LLWWL
West Indies LWLWW
Watch out for...
Kieron Pollard promised much but delivered little in the World Twenty20. In consecutive innings, he mustered scores of 8, 0, 9, 17 and 13, and without his incendiary lower-middle-order blazing, West Indies struggled to post the sort of indomitable scores that could have rescued their campaign.
AB de Villiers will be donning the wicket-keeping gloves in place of Mark Boucher and his agility and skill behind the wickets will be tested. He was South Africa's top run-getter in the World Twenty20, and it remains to be seen how he copes with the added responsibility.
Wavell Hinds, who managed just five runs in his two matches in the World Twenty20, has been omitted from the West Indies squad. Andre Fletcher, who has fond memories of Antigua following his role in the Stanford 20/20 for 20, could slot back into the line-up.
West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Andre Fletcher, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Jerome Taylor, 11 Kemar Roach.
South Africa have announced that AB de Villiers will keep wicket for the T20 games at least, as part of their plans for the World Cup, and have axed the experienced Boucher. Coach Corrie van Zyl had said in the aftermath of his team's exit from the World Twenty20 that some "hard calls" may have to be made, and dropping Boucher is the first among them.
With Wayne Parnell still absent through injury, South Africa's selectors have taken the opportunity to draft in an extra batsman, the 20-year-old Dolphins left-hander, David Miller. With a 60-ball 115 for South Africa A during their recent match against Bangladesh A in Mirpur, he's got sufficient form to justify an exploratory debut - possibly at the expense of Herschelle Gibbs.
South Africa (possible) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Loots Bosman, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 David Miller, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Johan Botha, 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Roelof van der Merwe, 11 Charl Langeveldt
Pitch and conditions
It's a significant day for cricket in Antigua, as the sport returns to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North South, the scene of the farcical abandoned Test during England's tour last year. The sandy surface has been stripped bare and relaid, and has been passed fit for use by the ICC. We shall see what transpires ...
Stats and trivia
•West Indies and South Africa have met on four previous occasions in Twenty20 cricket. South Africa have had the better of those meetings, with three wins to one, including a 20-run triumph in the last World Twenty20 in England.
•Chris Gayle became the first man to score a Twenty20 international century when the teams first met in this format, during the 2007 World Twenty20. It wasn't enough to carry his team to victory, however.
My first thought about this series is that South Africa for the first time will get hammered by WI. I think WI will win this series very handsomely. This south african side is mentally down and they need a new captain who can inspire some confidence and self belief.