Viljoen likely to play in ODIs

CityPress - - Sport - ED­UAN ROOS sports@city­press.co.za

Har­dus Viljoen could be a sur­pris­ing late in­clu­sion in the Proteas’ one-day squad for the se­ries against Eng­land due to the un­timely in­juries to Dale Steyn, Kyle Ab­bott, Wayne Par­nell and Ver­non Phi­lan­der.

City Press’ sis­ter pa­per, Rap­port, has learnt that Par­nell was a favourite to re­place ei­ther Steyn or Ab­bott for the first of the five matches against the English, which will be played in Bloem­fontein on Wed­nes­day.

But ow­ing to in­jury, Par­nell was with­drawn at the last minute from the South African A team for their one-day prac­tice match against Eng­land in Kim­ber­ley.

Steyn is still re­cov­er­ing from the shoul­der in­jury that forced him out of the test se­ries against the tourists. He will only be con­sid­ered for the T20 se­ries. Ab­bott (ham­string) will miss at least the Bloem­fontein match.

Vin­cent Barnes, the coach of the coun­try’s sec­ond­stringers, in which Eng­land scored a mas­sive 368/7 in their 50 overs, was an op­por­tu­nity for a hand­ful of play­ers to book their places in the one-day team.

“This type of match against tour­ing teams is very im­por­tant – es­pe­cially for our lo­cal play­ers,” said Barnes in a state­ment.

“We tried to pick the best play­ers out­side the na­tional team. It pro­vides them with an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to match up against in­ter­na­tional play­ers.

“Th­ese matches are never easy, as Eng­land showed [in the test se­ries, which they clinched 2-1].

“We have seen in the test se­ries that a player can be called up for the na­tional team at any time and prac­tice games are a good chance [for lo­cal play­ers] to stake a claim and show they can com­pete against the world’s best.”

Viljoen, whose fig­ures yes­ter­day were a rather unin­spir­ing 0/69, is now the favourite to be in­cluded in the Proteas’ one-day squad. Marchant de Lange also went for 69 runs, but man­aged to pick up two wick­ets. De Lange has also played for the Proteas be­fore.

The na­tional se­lec­tors are ex­pected to make their an­nounce­ment to­day.

Ear­lier this month Viljoen made his test de­but against Eng­land at the Wan­der­ers.

The Lions fast bowler has just been named the lo­cal mul­ti­day player of the month thanks to his 30 wick­ets in just four matches in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“To make my test de­but was a dream come true, but I don’t want it just to stay there,” said Viljoen on Fri­day.

“Nat­u­rally there is a big dif­fer­ence be­tween red- and white-ball cricket, but the ba­sics re­main the same.”

PHOTO: DEAAN VIVIER / FOTO24

IN THE PIC­TURE Har­dus Viljoen could play against Eng­land on Wed­nes­day

PHOTO: DEAAN VIVIER

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