Selectors put faith in uncapped spinners

TMG Digital


TELFORD VICE, Cape Town

AUSTRALIANS had better get used to the sight of Tabraiz Shamsi, who was on Monday named in the SA squad that will play tests in Perth, Hobart and Adelaide next month.

Shamsi made his international debut against the Aussies in Providence, Guyana in June and re-introduced himself to them in the fourth one-day international at St George’s Park on Sunday – and his haul of 3/36 was key to SA’s six-wicket win.

He also gave as good as he got in a fiery verbal exchange with Matthew Wade, who apparently tried to shoulder charge or elbow the left-arm wrist spinner as he completed a single.

Sunday’s performance was Shamsi’s best in his three ODIs and he has yet to play a test.

“Shamsi has made huge progress over the course of the last year in the longer format,” a Cricket SA release quoted selection convener Linda Zondi as saying.

“He took 41 wickets at an average of less than 20 in seven matches in last season’s (franchise first-class competition) and he certainly offers something different as an attacking spinner.”

Off-spinner Dane Piedt, who has played in six of SA’s last seven tests, was dropped.

That will make Shamsi SA’s first-choice spinner in Australia with another uncapped slow bowler, the left-armer Keshav Maharaj, as the second choice.

Maharaj took 13/157 for the Dolphins against the Warriors in the opening round of first-class matches at the weekend.

“Basically we are following a horses for courses policy as we feel that spinners who turn the ball away from the right-hander are going to be particularly useful under Australian conditions and against the test batsmen we are likely to face,” Zondi was quoted as saying.

“I am excited about the cover we have in this area with a wrist spinner and a left-arm orthodox spinner with JP Duminy able to offer the right-arm variety as well.”

Shamsi’s stock delivery, the chinaman, turns towards right-handers but he is equipped with rasping googly that turns away.

Zondi’s comments could explain why Piedt was axed, although the off-spinner isn’t short on variation.

Piedt was SA’s third-highest wicket-taker in the test series against England last season and SA A’s second most successful bowler in Australia in August.

But he was expensive, averaging 45.50 against England and 43.66 in Australia.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel is back in the mix having missed the two tests against New Zealand in August with a back injury.

But his selection will be confirmed only once he comes through a first-class match between the Titans and the Warriors at St George’s Park that starts on Tuesday.

Opening batsman Dean Elgar returns from an ankle injury that kept him out of the second test against the Kiwis.

Batsman Rilee Rossouw, who has played 35 ODIs and 15 T20 internationals but no tests, is also in the squad at the expense of Stiaan van Zyl.

Fast bowler Chris Morris, who played two tests against England while Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander were out with injuries, was also dropped.

Faf du Plessis has led SA to series wins over New Zealand and Australia in the absence of AB de Villiers, who is recovering from elbow surgery, and will serve as captain.

SA squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Dane Vilas.

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