South Africa, Aus­tralia tune up for World T20

The Pak Banker - - MAR­KETS/SPORTS -

South Africa and Aus­tralia will be seek­ing to find their best com­bi­na­tions when they meet in three Twenty20 in­ter­na­tion­als, shortly be­fore both sides travel to In­dia for the World Twenty20 tour­na­ment.

Aus­tralia ap­pear to have the most un­cer­tain­ties. They were beaten 3-0 at home by In­dia in their most re­cent T20 se­ries and the se­lec­tors made sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant changes in pick­ing a squad for South Africa and the global event.

Steve Smith was handed the cap­taincy, mak­ing him the leader in all three for­mats, while the squad in­cludes three play­ers who have yet to play in a T20 in­ter­na­tional - wick­et­keeper Peter Nevill, left-arm spin­ner Ash­ton Agar and leg-spin­ner Adam Zampa.

While Nevill has es­tab­lished him­self as Aus­tralia's Test wick­et­keeper, Agar, Zampa and fast bowler An­drew Tye are vir­tual novices at in­ter­na­tional level.

Agar has played in two Tests and two one­day in­ter­na­tion­als, fa­mously hit­ting 98 at num­ber 11 on Test de­but in the 2013 Ashes.

Zampa made his de­but and played in two one-day in­ter­na­tion­als in New Zealand last month. Tye played in only two T20 in­ter­na­tion­als against In­dia.

Aus­tralia have a strong bat­ting line-up, how­ever, al­though this too could be prob­lem­at­i­cal in terms of de­cid­ing on the best com­bi­na­tion. South Africa won two T20 in­ter­na­tion­als against Eng­land last month and will be strength­ened by the re­turns of fast bowler Dale Steyn and wick­et­keeper-bats­man Quin­ton de Kock.

Steyn played in a club match in Cape Town last week­end and took five wick­ets for 13 runs in two five-over spells spread over two in­nings.

Steyn, 32, has missed most of the in­ter­na­tional sea­son be­cause of a groin in­jury suf­fered in the first Test against In­dia in Novem­ber and a shoul­der in­jury in the first Test against Eng­land in De­cem­ber.

He said af­ter his club out­ing that he had been ready to play for the past three weeks and was ea­ger to get into ac­tion against the Aus­tralians.

De Kock was rested from the T20 se­ries against Eng­land be­cause of what was de­scribed as a mi­nor knee in­jury.

The se­lec­tors will have to de­cide which two out of De Kock, AB de Vil­liers and Hashim Amla will open the bat­ting. The lat­ter pair ef­fec­tively won the sec­ond match against Eng­land with a cen­tury part­ner­ship.

The se­ries is a re­peat of the 2013/14 sea­son when the two sides met in South Africa shortly be­fore the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Aus­tralia won con­vinc­ingly and looked strong con­tenders for the world crown. But form in the warm-up se­ries proved il­lu­sory.

Aus­tralia won only one out of three matches in Bangladesh and failed to reach the knock-out stage, while South Africa reached the semi-fi­nals.

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