TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
TWO of what many South Africans regard as the evils of modern cricket have affected the selection of the national squad for a T20 series against Sri Lanka.
One is the Indian Premier League (IPL), the other the imminent signing of another Kolpak contract.
“We have decided to rest some of our key senior players for this series,” Cricket South Africa (CSA) selection convenor Linda Zondi was quoted as saying in a release on Monday.
“This is the last chance we have to do this as the one-day series (against the Lankans) that follows is an important part of our build-up to the Champions Trophy in England (in June).
“Those senior players who are involved in the IPL will be playing non-stop from now until the end of August with the tours coming up to New Zealand and England in addition to the International Cricket Council event.
“David Wiese was one of our original selections but he has informed us that he intends to take up a Kolpak contract and has therefore been withdrawn from the squad.”
Of South Africa’s squad for the World T20 in India in March – the last time they played in the format – only Behardien, Imran Tahir, David Miller and Aaron Phangiso were among those named on Monday.
AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn are injured while Abbott and Rilee Rossouw have become Kolpak defectors.
Major players Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy and Kagiso Rabada have all been rested.
The happier news is that South Africa will blood a brand new captain in Farhaan Behardien and that the squad includes six players who are uncapped in the format – Jon-Jon Smuts, Theunis de Bruyn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson and Lungi Ngidi.
“Farhaan was one of the standout players in our franchise T20 Challenge, being the second leading run-scorer behind Jon-Jon Smuts and having the best strike rate,” Zondi was quoted as saying.
The squad has been named for the first two of the three matches, and Zondi was quoted as saying De Villiers and Morne Morkel – who are out with elbow and back injuries – could be considered for the third game.
SA T20 squad:
Farhaan Behardien (captain), Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heino Kuhn, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts.
January 20: 1st T20, Centurion (6pm)
January 22: 2nd T20, Wanderers (2.30pm)
January 25: 3rd T20, Newlands (6pm)