AB de Villiers suggested that an out-and-out paceman should be favoured over an all-rounder for their opener against Sri Lanka.
It’s a selection debate that’s been stirring for some time now, and it was one which we though had been put to bed by Russell Domingo earlier in the week.
‘It’s a catch-22 situation; having Morne might strengthen our bowling, but it gives us a longer tail not having the three all-rounders,’ the coach said on Tuesday.
But, albeit with a little bit of reading between the lines, it would appear that if De Villiers were to pick the side, Morne Morkel would be in it.
The Proteas boast six seamers in their squad, and there’s going to be space for four in the first XI. Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada will get the nod, but it’s an anxious wait for Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius.
‘That is a difficult decision,’ De Villiers told the media at the pre-match press conference at the Oval. ‘We have an opportunity to bowl this Sri Lankan side out, so to me it’s really important to get your top three bowlers in there.
‘Not that the all-rounders can’t do a job, but I’d be leaning towards getting our best bowlers in there.’
De Villiers added that his side are at their peak, despite falling short in the England series, and emphasised the ease with which he’s been able to captain his side in the build-up to the showpiece.
‘We’re peaking at the right time,’ he says. ‘Being captain has it’s challenges, but I’ve done it for a while and I feel comfortable. We’ve got four or five leaders in this side and we all have a right to have our say. The culture we’ve created as a team allows me to do my thing.’
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Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images