TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
IT’S not often that domestic cricket is graced by the presence of international players, but Wednesday’s franchise T20 fixtures represent that rare opportunity.
At least they should. But 10 of the 16 who returned triumphant from South Africa’s test series in Australia last month will not be involved. That makes sense on three levels.
Domestic T20 games are about as far removed from test cricket as A is from Z, so the selectors are unlikely to have any questions answered before they meet on Thursday to pick the squad to play Sri Lanka later this month.
Also, why not leave as many as possible of the test players alone before they need to reconvene to take on the Lankans?
On top of that, Thursday’s hit and giggle between the Proteas and the Springboks at Newlands – worthy cause though it is with its charity thrust – can’t help the logistics of moving players to and from where they need to be.
And then there’s AB de Villiers, who was not in Australia because of an elbow injury that required surgery.
De Villiers, who South Africans hope will be fit to take on the Sri Lankans in the first test in Port Elizabeth on December 26, is not part of the Titans squad for their game against the Lions in Centurion on Wednesday.
However, he could swing a bat in anger for the first time since July against the Warriors in East London on Sunday – if he is cleared to play.
Others ruled out by injury are Hashim Amla, who has a neck problem, Quinton de Kock, who is down with a virus, and Rilee Rossouw, whose lingering foot issue has returned and taken him out of the mix for between four and six weeks.
That precludes Rossouw, South Africa’s spare batsman in Australia, from the selection frame for the Sri Lankan series.
Other players who were part of the squad Down Under but who you should not expect to see if you turn on your television on Wednesday are Faf du Plessis, Kyle Abbott, Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada.
Abbott was confined to the dugout for the Warriors’ game against the Lions at Kingsmead on Sunday and TMG Digital understands he has not made the trip to East London to take on the Dolphins on Wednesday.
It seems Abbott has been marooned by the double whammy of race quotas and the fact that Andrew Birch, who is also white, is the competition’s leading wicket-taker.
So, which internationals might you be able to see in action on Wednesday?
Temba Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius, who are in the mix for the Lions, the Cobras’ JP Duminy and Dane Vilas, Keshav Maharaj of the Dolphins and the Titans’ Tabraiz Shamsi.
Good enough, easily, to make your reach for your remote.