Plenty of depth in SA cricket

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA

LINDA Zondi, the na­tional con­vener of se­lec­tors for the Proteas, is con­fi­dent South African cricket can push on from a tough week off the field, and fo­cus on the third and fi­nal Test against Sri Lanka this week.

“The loss of Kyle Ab­bott and Rilee Ros­souw has ob­vi­ously dis­rupted us a lit­tle bit, be­cause they were both good play­ers who were a big part of our plans,” Zondi said.

“Not just for the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy later this year, but also for the World Cup in two years. But, we must also re­spect the fact that play­ers are free to make their own choices in life,” Zondi said.

“We are very con­fi­dent of the depth that we still have in the sys­tem. Some peo­ple may ques­tion whether the guys com­ing in will be of the same level, but you have to give them a chance to prove them­selves.

“The same thing hap­pened when play­ers in the squad now started out. The tal­ent is there, and we will keep look­ing for it and trust­ing it to play for South Africa,” Zondi said.

“Wayne Par­nell has been in good form, and Duane Olivier has also done well at fran­chise level. We look for­ward to them show­ing what they can do at the next level. It is ex­cit­ing.”

The whirl­wind na­ture of the Kol­pak deals last week took sig­nif­i­cant gloss off the Proteas’ se­ries-clinch­ing win in the sec­ond Test at New­lands.

The match also saw Kag­iso Rabada help him­self to his third 10-wicket haul in Test cricket, and Dean El­gar con­tinue to es­tab­lish him­self as the rock upon which South Africa’s run moun­tains are built on.

Zondi, no doubt mind­ful of the neg­a­tive en­ergy that is cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing in some of the more cyn­i­cal cor­ners of South African cricket, was quick to re­flect on a very suc­cess­ful week to start the year.

“It was a very good per­for­mance to win the se­ries in the man­ner that we did. The team has been do­ing very well, and it would be fan­tas­tic if they can fin­ish off the se­ries and seal a white­wash,” he said.

Zondi, a prod­uct of KZN cricket, added that the week was a sig­nif­i­cant one for an­other son of Dol­phins’ coun­try, Hashim Amla.

“We are all very ex­cited for the Wan­der­ers Test, be­cause it will be Hashim’s 100th Test. It is a mag­nif­i­cent achieve­ment, and one that we should all be proud of. Very few play­ers have reached this land­mark, and Hashim de­serves all the praise he gets this week.”

The Proteas will hope to mark the re­gal oc­ca­sion in style, but the em­pha­sis will be on the col­lec­tive be­fore the in­di­vid­ual. It is ex­actly what Amla him­self would pre­fer, with the Proteas’ No 3 happy to have a low-key build-up to his big day. READY FOR THE BULLRING: South African bowl­ing coach Charl Langeveldt says Kag­iso Rabda will rel­ish the chance to bowl on a friendly sur­face at the Wan­der­ers.

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