Old and new for Proteas
AB back to captain ODI side, Morris adds ‘that thing’ and Ngidi rewarded
AB DE Villiers is back. The South African limited-overs captain will return to international action tomorrow evening in Cape Town, in the final T20 International against Sri Lanka, and then resume his duties as captain of the ODI side which will play the tourist in five matches around the country.
“AB is a world-class player, and it is very exciting to see that he has scored a hundred in his first game back after a long time out with injury,” Cricket South Africa selection convener, Linda Zondi, commented yesterday.
Amongst some new faces that he will work with, De Villiers will have exciting bowling prospect Lungi Ngidi, whose form in the T20 series has been rewarded with a promotion to the 50-over squad.
“That was the point of this T20 series squad. As much as we like winning all the time, it was also an opportunity for these guys to show if they have what it takes at the next level,” Zondi pointed out.
“Even in the loss on Sunday, I was quite chuffed with the way the guys fought until the end. We were not defending that many runs, but the guys like Lungi showed character and that is great for the future of South African cricket.”
Chris Morris, pictured, who also missed the famous clean-sweep series against Australia last year, also returns to the squad after injury.
“He has got ‘that thing’ which he brings to the game, and it is great to have him back. He is also very experienced and he will give us more options as an all-rounder.”
Zondi also revealed that the team was selected with an eye on the Champions Trophy, with only 10 games left before the ICC event starts in England.
“There are some slots that are open in the team now, and there is an opportunity for someone to take the new ball and also upfront with the bat. We want to see who will step up and show that they can deliver for us, because the Champions Trophy is not too far away.”
“We have chosen this squad (however) for the first three games only,” the selection chief explained.
Before the 50-over series starts in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, the Proteas have a series-deciding T20 international at Newlands tomorrow evening, and Zondi said it is great for the young squad under the leadership of Farhaan Behardien to play under that pressure.
“That is what it is all about, and it will be interesting to see how the guys handle that situation. Obviously, having a player like AB back is a big boost, and I am sure he will want to make an impact.”
JOY TIME: SA ‘s Lungi Ngidi, left, celebrates after dismissing Dinesh Chandimal, for 22 during the second T20 Internationa against Sri Lanka.