David Wiese should be given a fair chance to establish himself at No 7 in South Africa’s strongest ODI team.
The ideal opportunity for this is in the series against New Zealand, with the first of three ODIs to be played on 19 August.
The No 7 batting position in the 50-over format has been a chronic problem for quite some time and it was baffling to see the national selectors fail to solve the issue in the build-up to the World Cup earlier this year.
There has been an inconsistency to team selections for far too long and it’s time Russell Domingo and the rest of the selectors identify their best XI and stick to it.
Ideally, the candidate will be an all-rounder which, looking at the squad chosen for the New Zealand series, comes down to a decision between Wiese (30) and Farhaan Behardien (32 in October). Both are batting all-rounders; the only big difference being one is a medium pacer and the other a slow bowler.
Wiese is a more old school all-rounder in the same mould as a Lance Klusener or Justin Kemp, while Behardien is more of a top order batsman who has been forced to bat at seven to accommodate the more experienced and established players in the team.
The other candidates for the role, Wayne Parnell, Ryan McLaren (32) and possibly even Albie Morkel (34), have all been discarded for now and it will be interesting to see if McLaren and Morkel can revive their dwindling international careers.
One would think Morkel’s chances are slim to none, but if it were to happen it would be a short-term solution. McLaren can probably make a case for being unfairly axed, although with so many competition for places there seems to be a greater intolerance for poor form when it comes to certain individuals.
However, JP Duminy will be on paternity leave during the whole tour which means there is a spot open at No 6. Behardien may yet get a chance alongside Wiese in one of the games, but the feeling is that Rilee Rossouw will be preferred ahead of him.
With Wiese in the side, AB de Villiers will normally have four seamers and two spinners (Imran Tahir and Duminy) at his disposal, not including the skipper himself who also fancied a bowl during the World Cup.
Wiese has showed promise during the Momentum One-Day Cup as well as in the T20 format for South Africa, the Titans and in the IPL. He needs to be backed during the New Zealand tour and beyond.
The balance in the team will be the better for it.