There is place for AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla in the Proteas XI at the World T20 but only if their form allows it, says captain Faf du Plessis.
Amla scored an unbeaten 97 at Newlands on Wednesday which is his highest T20 score to date. It was also his second fifty in a row after also scoring one against England at the Wanderers a few weeks ago.
Last night he stepped in for De Villiers, who is nursing a shoulder niggle and again made the most of his opportunity. He now seems undroppable, which leaves the selectors with an interesting dilemma so close to the T20 World Cup in India.
‘For me it’s just about form,’ Du Plessis said at his post-match press conference. ‘It’s not about the players or the positions, it’s about who’s in the best form and then you pick your positions. If the form allows it, yes. Obviously Hashim’s in form so you have to look at that; Quinny is playing well.
‘I you find that there is less form in the middle order, then you have to try and make a plan to fill that gap. We’ve got two more games. Form is everything for me. In a short World Cup, like it is, you need to put someone in that you think is going to just be on top of his game.
‘So yes, there is space [for all three], but in the next two games we’ll see who is in the best form.’
Du Plessis agreed that South Africa lost the game in the middle overs as the total of 178 proved too little in the end despite starting their innings at a brisk pace.
‘For me it’s important not to just brush this away and straight away put your focus on the World T20,’ he said. ‘I thought a total of close to 180 is generally a very good score on the coast. You have to look at where you made mistakes. As a batting unit they obviously made it look a lot easier than it was. I was surprised by the way the wicket played.
‘A typical Newlands wicket might get a bit slow at night which it didn’t and that nullified a few of our plans. Some of the stuff wasn’t working. The credit for Australia is they came in and just kept on playing aggressively and kept scoring boundaries. How you win games like that is when you get one or two wickets and you squeeze the opposition and we just couldn’t do that. They just kept scoring boundaries every over. We have to learn from that and get better in that area and try and make sure we don’t give as many four-balls away. This team has had real good results in the subcontinent. For me that’s the most important thing,’ Du Plessis said.
‘I thought we played really good cricket throughout the series, but our basics at crucial times let us down. I thought we were 10 or 15 runs short. When you do get a flying start as a team you are in a position to just press a little bit harder. We possibly lost 10 runs in that middle period and that’s the learning that we need to take.’