Now, not after serious injury to a first-choice player or a belated admission of incorrect selection, is the time to act – and David Wiese must be drafted into South Africa’s World Cup squad.
Originally snubbed, Ryan McLaren has since been sidelined by injury sustained during South Africa A’s series against the England Lions. Farhaan Behardien is nursing a sore back and Vernon Philander a hurt hamstring. The International Cricket Council’s event technical committee, then, should surely oblige a request for injury cover from Cricket South Africa.
Wiese, much like Titans team-mate and fellow all-rounder Albie Morkel, has lacked self-confidence during past seasons – but this month’s title-winning Momentum One-Day Cup campaign and a very lucrative Indian Premier League contract will instil plenty of belief, if several sterling domestic seasons hadn’t.
Capped eight times across 18 months at Twenty20 level, the 29-year-old’s international career has been rather stop-start. The selectors and coaching staff have been lukewarm in identifying his role in the shortest format. Under-bowled and not really given enough time at the crease, Wiese’s genuine talent has not been afforded the right platform.
The ODI team, however, is ripe for his prowess. With Behardien slowly but surely slipping from preference and forgiveness of Wayne Parnell wearing increasingly thin, Wiese would bring ‘the balance’ to the batting order all and sundry have been harping on about. The fifth and final 10-over allotment, too, would have a greater impact – if bowled entirely by Wiese or shared with JP Duminy.
‘For me, that ship has kind of sailed now and I’m moving on. I’m moving forward now, with the next challenge coming up,’ the characteristically modest Wiese said of his inability to crack the nod for the 15-man World Cup squad earlier this year. To continue the cliche, though, the door is not entirely closed – and might blow wide open in the wake of Sunday’s telling defeat to India.