Smuts re­warded with T20 call-up, as SA rest se­nior play­ers

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS

WORK­LOAD man­age­ment al­lied to pri­ori­tis­ing the 50-over for­mat, was at the fore­front of the na­tional se­lec­tors’ think­ing as they an­nounced a 13-man squad for the first two T20 in­ter­na­tion­als against Sri Lanka, which con­tained six new caps.

A num­ber of fa­mil­iar names were left out of the squad in­clud­ing reg­u­lar cap­tain Faf du Plessis, Quin­ton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Kag­iso Rabada and JP Du­miny. In Du Plessis’ ab­sence, the se­lec­tors have handed the cap­taincy for the first two matches of the three-game se­ries to Farhaan Be­har­dien, while six oth­ers will make their first ap­pear­ances for the Proteas in the short­est for­mat.

JJ Smuts of the War­riors has been re­warded for an out­stand­ing do­mes­tic sea­son which saw him top the run-scor­ing charts in the T20 Chal­lenge.

Man­gal­iso Mosehle will take the wicket-keep­ing du­ties, The­u­nis de Bruyn will be a can­di­date for a berth in the top or­der, Andile Phehluk­wayo gets to con­tinue his de­vel­op­ment af­ter a stun­ning start to his ODI ca­reer against Aus­tralia, while Lungi Ngidi of the Ti­tans and Dane Pater­son from the Cape Co­bras will be among the seam­bowl­ing op­tions.

In ad­di­tion, the se­lec­tors have sup­ple­mented for the ab­sence of the reg­u­lar faces by in­clud­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner in the shape of Heino Kuhn, who played the last of his five T20s in 2011, while reg­u­lars like David Miller, Im­ran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso will lend Be­har­dien a hand with the lead­er­ship.

“We have de­cided to rest some of our key se­nior play­ers for this se­ries,” said con­venor of se­lec­tors, Linda Zondi.

“This is the last chance we have to do this as the ODI se­ries (against Sri Lanka) that fol­lows is an im­por­tant part of our build-up to the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Eng­land in the mid­dle of the year.

“Those se­nior play­ers who are in­volved in the In­dian Premier League 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 ICC event.”

Zondi also said that Morne Morkel and AB de Vil­liers, who are sched­uled to play do­mes­tic cricket in the com­ing weeks could be con­sid­ered for the third T20.

The three-match se­ries starts at Su­perS­port Park on 20 Jan­uary, with the sec­ond match at the Wan­der­ers two days later. The fi­nal match of the se­ries will be played at New­lands on 25 Jan­uary.

Proteas T20 squad v Sri Lanka: Farhaan Be­har­dien (capt), 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.

PIC­TURE: BACKPAGEPIX

MAN IF CHARGE: Farhaan Be­har­dien will skip­per the Proteas in the first two T20s against Sri Lanka.

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