Faf du Plessis has emphasised that form will play a huge role in the starting XI against England, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The Proteas fly to England on Saturday. Months of preparations have ended, and they now focus on getting match ready for their opening game against England at The Oval on 30 May.
First up, the Proteas will play two warm-up games – one against Sri Lanka on 24 May and one against the West Indies on 26 May. These games will have a major impact on who the Proteas select for their first game of the campaign.
Proteas captain Du Plessis reiterated that even Hashim Amla is not guaranteed a start, despite his vast experience.
‘In terms of team selection, that’s a call we will make when we get to that first game,’ said Du Plessis at the Proteas’ out-going press conference.
‘We have two warm-up games. Generally, we want to pick on form. If we believe Hash is the guy with the best form for the first game then he will be picked. But if we feel there are other guys that are more in form [we will pick them].
‘Form does play a huge role in a long competition like this – so hopefully Hash can go into those warm-ups, and bang, bang two centuries in a row and then we can smile from there.’
Du Plessis has faith in Amla’s ability, and despite him backing the younger players in the side, believes that the experience brought by the 36-year-old is invaluable.
‘As an experienced player, he is important in our squad and that was one of the key reasons he was picked. You cannot substitute experience,’ said Du Plessis.
‘When I speak about the experience, I speak about experience having played in tournaments like the World Cup before. He understands what it means to play in a big tournament.
‘Whether that means runs or not, no one can give us that guarantee. But it’s just the calm composure Hashim has. Even if he doesn’t play a game, just the knowledge and experience that he can share with someone like an Aiden Markram is something you can only get from a guy like Hashim.
‘He can talk him through those first 10 overs, he has a lot of experience playing County cricket, so his experience is vital to the group.’
Amla represented the Proteas at the 2011 and 2015 World Cup. He has played 15 World Cup matches, and scored 639 runs at an average of 42.60.
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