TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
NO Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir as one of three specialist spinners, and an injury cloud over Faf du Plessis. Selection convenor Linda Zondi gave cricketminded South Africans plenty to think about yesterday when he announced the squad for SA’s test series in India in November and December.
That squad as well as those named for the five one-day internationals and three Twenty20s SA will play in India consist of 15 players. Seven members of the test squad are of colour, as as are six ODI players and seven of those selected for the T20s.
So, the goal of squads that are 50% black was not reached in any format. But the selectors came close enough for Cricket SA to probably not expect the transformation police to knock on the door just yet.
De Kock has scored two half-centuries in his last 18 innings for SA across all formats. He was axed for the second test in Bangladesh in July and sent on SA’s tour to India, where he blitzed three centuries in five innings. However, that was only good enough to get him into the ODI and T20 squads.
“We are optimistic that going forward he will come back in the test side; that’s why we brought him back for the T20s and ODIs,” Zondi told a press conference.
That means Dane Vilas gets another chance to impress after the monsoon limited his test debut, in Bangladesh, to 88.1 overs behind the stumps and none in front of them.
“Its important for us as a new selection panel to make sure that we are consistent in our selection and that’s the reason for Dane Vilas being included,” Zondi said.
Tahir has taken one five-wicket haul in his 16 tests and has not played in any of SA’s three matches in the format this year. But he has become SA’s premier spinner in the shorter formats and is ranked second among ODI bowlers.
However, there his name was in the test squad yesterday; along with those of Dane Piedt – back from a serious shoulder injury – and Simon Harmer, who replaced Piedt. What with JP Duminy, no mean purveyor of slow poison, also in the mix, SA should not want for quality spin bowling in India.
“To go with three spinners is vital for the captain and the coach to have enough options,” Zondi said. “Dane Piedt and Simon Harmer are perceived as holding spinners and then we’ve got Imran who is an attacking spinner.
“We are very confident that we have three spinners. It’s something we haven’t done in a long time and it’s a positive message from the selection panel that we are trying to pick players based on the conditions.”
Du Plessis’ troublesome knee “has responded slower than expected”, according to team manager Mohammed Moosajee.
Two cortisone injections have relieved the pain, but “we need to see how he progresses – the plan is to commence training next week and build up to full intensity by the end of the month”.
AB de Villiers, Duminy and Morne Morkel have all reported back from paternity leave, while the casualties from the squad that went to Bangladesh are De Kock, Reeza Hendricks and Aaron Phangiso.
SA will want De Villiers in harness whatever the format, but particularly in the ODIs considering their shocking series loss in Bangladesh. Dale Steyn is also back in 50-over pyjamas, but Ryan McLaren and Wayne Parnell have woken up to the cold coffee of being dropped.
Test: Hashim Amla (captain), Temba Bavuma, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas.
ODI: AB de Villiers (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.
T20: Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, David Wiese, Khaya Zondo.