The Citizen (Gauteng)

Proteas bank on Maharaj, Morkel

CHAMPIONS TROPHY: ALL-ROUNDERS GALORE IN SQUAD

- Ken Borland

Host of quality batsmen on standby should AB de Villiers’ troublesom­e back keep him out of action in England.

Keshav Maharaj and Morne Morkel are the new faces in South Africa’s one-day squad for the ICC Champions Trophy and the three ODIs against England that precede it, with all-rounders Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukway­o and Dwaine Pretorius also all named in the 15-man group announced yesterday.

Left-arm spinner Maharaj replaces the unorthodox Tabraiz Shamsi, while Morkel is an addition to the squad that beat New Zealand 3-2 in their recent ODI series.

“It was a tricky selection because a host of spinners have done really well, especially Aaron Phangiso and Tabraiz Shamsi. Imran Tahir is head-and-shoulders above the rest, but it’s been a challenge to play two spinners in the starting XI when both of them can’t really bat. It means KG Rabada has to come in at nine,” coach Russell Domingo explained.

“But so many ODI games these days are being won with scores of 260 for seven or 280 for eight, so you need contributi­ons from numbers seven, eight and nine. Keshav offers us more batting depth than Tabraiz and Phangi, and he also bowls with a lot of control and has done fantastica­lly well in Tests and his domestic record is outstandin­g, with an economy rate of 5.07. If we’re going to play two spinners, his selection makes it easier.’’

It had originally been presumed that Morris, Phehlukway­o, Pretorius and Parnell were competing for just a couple of places, but all four have been chosen for the Champions League thanks to their strong contributi­ons to the Proteas’ amazing summer that took them back to No 1 in the ODI rankings.

“It depends on conditions and it’s great to have four all-rounders to choose from,” Domingo said.

With captain AB de Villiers’ troublesom­e back flaring up again, the Proteas do have the extra security of quality batsmen waiting in the wings. Farhaan Behardien is the extra specialist batsman in the Champions Trophy squad, while Khaya Zondo, Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram are all in the SA A side which will be in England at the same time.

 ?? Picture: Getty Images ?? TWEAKER. Proteas Test spinner Keshav Maharaj is set to make his internatio­nal one-day debut in England later this year.
Picture: Getty Images TWEAKER. Proteas Test spinner Keshav Maharaj is set to make his internatio­nal one-day debut in England later this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa