The men drafted into the Protea squad to take on Eng­land

Sur­prise as Tahir is in­cluded in South Africa squad

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART HESS

FAC­ING the prospect of a se­ries loss against Eng­land, the na­tional se­lec­tors named an ex­tended 15-man squad for the fourth Test start­ing at the Wan­der­ers on Thurs­day that in­cludes young left-arm seamer Wayne Par­nell and more sur­pris­ingly leg-spinner Im­ran Tahir.

With grow­ing con­cerns over the fit­ness of Friedel de Wet, who in­jured his back early on in Eng­land’s first in­nings, Par­nell’s in­clu­sion is no shock,

Tahir’s is. Mickey Arthur has long been an ad­mirer of Pak­istan-bor n leg-spinner, who gained res­i­dency last April af­ter mar­ry­ing a South African woman in Pre­to­ria.

The na­tional coach has long felt that the South African Test side needs a more at­tack­ing spinner, and in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the sec­ond ag­o­nis­ing draw in this se­ries, and Paul Har­ris’s lack of pen­e­tra­tion on the fi­nal day at New­lands when the pitch was as­sist­ing spin, Tahir’s in­clu­sion in the squad has added sig­nif­i­cance.

How­ever it re­mains to be seen whether South Africa will be bold enough to pick him in the start­ing XI. It may just be that with tours to In­dia and the West Indies later this year, Arthur wants to have Tahir around the squad and see how re­acts to the na­tional en­v­i­ron- ment. Tahir has ap­par­ently fallen out with the ad­min­is­tra­tion at the Ti­tans fran­chise, and is un­der­stood to be seek­ing a move to the KZN Dol­phins next sea­son. This sea­son he has played just two Su­perS­port Se­ries matches for the Ti­tans in which he claimed seven wick­ets at an undis­tin­guished av­er­age of 63.00, but in the three-day do­mes­tic am­a­teur pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion he is the lead­ing wicket-taker with 35 at an av­er­age of 15.45.

Tahir has pre­vi­ously played for three dif­fer­ent English County sides, and in his last stint on the county cir­cuit was among Hamp­shire’s stars fin­ish­ing with 44 wick­ets from just seven matches in which time he claimed three “five-fors.’’

There’s ev­ery chance of course that he may not come into the equa­tion at all if the Wan­der­ers pitch is go­ing to be a quick and bouncy fast bowl­ing par­adise. There’s been a lot of rain around Jo­han­nes­burg lately and more is fore­cast in the com­ing days which may force grounds­man Chris Scott to pre­pare the pitch un­der a tent, a move that al­ways tends to leave the sur­face a lit­tle juicier.

Smith men­tioned that the Wan­der­ers’ sur­face had been some­thing of a lot­tery for his side in re­cent sea­sons but at least there’d al­ways been a re­sult. That re­sult how­ever has not al­ways gone South Africa’s way with the home team manag­ing just two wins in their last six Tests there both of which came against New Zealand.

The in­clu­sion of Par­nell may see South Africa use an all-seam at­tack for the ‘Bull­ring’.

“This is a must win Test for us,” com­mented se­lec­tion con­vener Mike Proc­ter, “and we have cov­ered all our bases as far as the com­po­si­tion of our at­tack is con­cerned.”

If Tahir is not an op­tion for the start­ing XI and the wicket shows that it may be one where fast bowlers will pros­per there’s al­ways the op­tion of in­clud­ing Ryan McLaren for Har­ris and get­ting JP Du­miny to do more bowl­ing which may not be such a bad call given his suc­cess on the fi­nal day at New­lands.

For now it ap­pears the top six will re­main the same de­spite con­tin­u­ing con­cerns over Ash­well Prince’s lack of runs at the top of the or­der.

He has scored just 78 runs at an av­er­age of 13 in the cur­rent se­ries, with a best of 45 a re­tur n which has put enor­mous pres­sure on the rest of the or­der es­pe­cially Hashim Amla and Jac­ques Kal­lis.

Smith though reck­ons Prince’s tough­ness and ex­pe­ri­ence makes him a key mem­ber of the squad and he will re­ceive all the sup­port he needs ahead of the Wan­der­ers Test.

“He’s a strong char­ac­ter and an in­te­gral part of the group, and I would back him to come through,” said Smith.

IM­RAN TAHIR… long been ad­mired by Mickey Arthur.

RYAN McLAREN… could come in for Paul Har­ris.

ALVIRO PETERSEN… putting pres­sure on Ash­well Prince.

WAYNE PAR­NELL… could bol­ster the pace at­tack.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.