To go with three spinners to India is exciting, says SA selection boss
JOHANNESBURG: The Proteas will take three spinners and welcome Quinton de Kock back into their fold for their marathon tour to India, convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, announced yesterday.
The tour, which will include a four-match test series named the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela series, will also see debuts for Khaya Zondo in the T20 team. Imran Tahir and Dane Piedt return to the test along with Simon Harmer.
“When you look back five years ago, we struggled for spinners in South Africa,” said Zondi. “Now we have a volume of spinners. Seeing how well Dane Piedt has done in India with SA A gave us the confidence to see what options we could use. To go with three spinners is exciting.”
De Kock has been picked for the ODI and T20 squads, while Dane Vilas will keep the gloves in the Test team. Zondi said De Villers was expected to keep the gloves for the T20 side, but that might change depending on the wishes of coach Russell Domingo.
“It’s important for us as a new selection panel to be consistent in selection, because they didn’t have much game time in Bangladesh. We need to back the players,” said Zondi. “We weren’t worried about (De Kock’s) keeping, but we were worried about his runs. He has done the job. It is nice to see players who, when you drop them to the SA A team, they perform.
“We want to keep all our options open for the Test series. We also have JP Duminy as an option in this department and I believe we have covered all our bases by having both holding and attacking spin options in our squad. It is good to have Dane back from his injury and Imran was our No 1 spinner for our last test series on the subcontinent against Sri Lanka.
“The tour to India is a very long one. It lasts for more than two months and we can’t expect Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to field too heavy a workload. Chris comes back after a spell out through injury while Marchant has done well at the IPL. It is an ideal opportunity to explore our back-up options ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 which will be played in India. It is vital in this format to get wickets up front.”
Of the five players who struggled with injuries after the New Zealand tour – Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, Chris Mor- ris, Faf du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw – two, Amla and Tahir, have fully recovered.
“Imran’s problem was his left hamstring, which responded well to treatment,” said team manager Mohammed Moosajee. “Hashim had two main complaints, one was a chronic neck issue and the other was a thumb injury, where we picked up a fracture in one of the bones from a catching session during the New Zealand tour.
“Chris had a right groin strain during the Bangladesh tour and is being treated at his franchise, he should be ready for the start of the tour and have played some warm-up T20 games for the Titans.
“Rilee was diagnosed with a left foot stress fracture during the New Zealand series. Healing takes from six to eight weeks. He is currently non weight bearing in a moon boot and on crutches. He is being assessed weekly. The aim is to get him ready for the ODI series in India.” Proteas Test squad: Hashim Amla (capt), AB de Villiers (vicecapt), Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas Proteas ODI squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla , Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn Proteas T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, David Wiese, Khaya Zondo Cricket writer ZAAHIER ADAMS says: The selectors have certainly covered all their bases with the selection of three specialist spinners (Dane Piedt, Simon Harmer and Imran Tahir) along with all-rounder JP Duminy. This could possibly, though, be a case of two many cooks spoiling the broth. It is highly unlikely that the Proteas at any stage will field two specialists alongside Duminy, especially when part-timers like Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl are also capable of turning their arm over. They simply don’t feel comfortable going into a test with just two seamers or a batsman light. The World No 1 team’s “X-factor” has always been playing seven specialist batsmen in test cricket. Dane Vilas’ retention as the first-choice wicketkeeper is also an interesting decision, especially with Quinton de Kock being recalled to the two limited-overs format. I have always believed Vilas to be a better short-form “package” cricketer, but now that he is being afforded the opportunity to stake a permanent claim in the Proteas test side, he must grab it with both hands. It is unlikely to come again.