Viljoen likely to play in ODIs
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But owing to injury, Parnell was withdrawn at the last minute from the South African A team for their one-day practice match against England in Kimberley.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.”
IN THE PICTURE Hardus Viljoen could play against England on Wednesday
YOUNG HERO Former Proteas fast bowler Mfuneko Ngam says Kagiso Rabada should be protected