England’s white ball series with South Africa starts this week with every ball of every game exclusively live on talkSPORT 2.
It is England’s first overseas tour since the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc with sport across the globe.
We have three T20s followed by three ODIs to look forward to, with the first T20 beginning at 4pm on Friday.
With the T20 World Cup taking place in India next year, players will be desperate to impress and guarantee their place for the big event.
talkSPORT host – and Ashes winning fast bowler – Steve Harmison picked out three things he’s most looking forward to in the short series, which ends on December 7.
He told talkSPORT: “It’s one year away from the Twenty20 World Cup so every match is vitally important for England. It’s a ridiculous team to get into and everyone is fighting for their place.
“The first thing I’m looking forward to is seeing the pace for England.
“I can’t wait to see Mark Wood and Jofra Archer together because the way Twenty20 has gone with the IPL and everything that has gone with the IPL it just seems that pace bowlers and extreme pace bowlers like Mark Wood and Jofra Archer have come to the fore.
“Fingers crossed we get some quick pitches in South Africa because they’ve got some quick bowlers of their own but England need to have Archer and Wood firing.
“Eoin Morgan has a big decision on his hands when it comes to who is opening the batting. You’ve got the potential of four of five that could open the batting but England have gone with Buttler at the top with Roy, so where does Jonny Bairstow fit in?
“You’ve got Bairstow, Buttler and Roy, they can’t all fit in and Buttler has to play.
“There’s bound to have been times in both of your careers, Ally you’ve been a manager role as well. The back-up has come in and had three stormers, what do you do? Do you bring him back or stick with what’s tried and tested.
“I also can’t wait to watch Rabada over the next few weeks. Definitely one of the fastest bowlers in the world.”
Here at talkSPORT.com, we’ve also taken a look at some of the key players heading into the short white ball series in South Africa…
England’s key men
Stokes will be playing in the T20 matches but not the ODIs in preparation for the World Cup.
He scored an unbeaten century in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals and comes into the series in reasonable form.
Everyone takes note when Archer is about to bowl expecting 90mph rockets every time he steps up to the crease.
Pace bowling is becoming more and more important in T20 cricket and Archer will be a key component in this series and the future.
Desperate to impress
With the turmoil of losing his red ball place, Bairstow will want a good series to remind everyone why he’s one of the top players in the world.
The 31-year-old was a crucial part of England’s World Cup winning side and regular top performer in T20 tournaments around the world.
On his day he can be one of the most destructive batsmen around and there is added motivation to perform.
The Kent wicketkeeper-batsman has been on the fringes of the England fold for some time and some good performances in the series against Australia in September cemented his place – for now.
A good series here will do no harm on his chances of making the final squad for the World Cup.
Waiting in the wings
Root is part of the ODI side but not the T20 team and will no doubt still harbour hopes of making the World Cup squad.
He had an excellent domestic T20 campaign and will be ready and waiting should any opportunity arise.
Like Root, Woakes will just be involved in the ODI games and continues to impress in the longer white ball format.
Chances could yet arrive in that T20 team should anyone struggle in South Africa or any injuries are picked up.