South Africa’s limited-overs series against Zimbabwe changes from ODI to T20I competition this week, but the shortest format still merits questions lined with World Cup relevance, writes JONHENRY WILSON.
Is David Miller more of a T20 mercenary than a World Cup hopeful?
This T20I series will be David Miller’s first since renouncing availability to first-class cricket for the foreseeable future. A key member of the Jamaica Tallawahs’ squad in the recent Caribbean Premier League, he must continue to justify his white-ball fixation at the highest level, albeit against minnows. Being voluntarily sidelined from the ODIs against Zimbabwe was arguably limiting, not restful, and Miller must deliver on cue in the T20Is.
Can there be longevity in South Africa’s relationship with Robbie Frylinck?
The shortest format of the international game continues to afford players the chance to put in the kind of performances that might yield eventual ODI selection. Reeza Hendricks is a good example of the success of the model, while Christiaan Jonker is not. The recipient of two T20Is against Bangladesh a year ago, Frylinck has been recalled for a couple – perhaps even three – more. Whether this is genuinely another audition for higher honours, though, is doubtful.
Are Gihahn Cloete and Rassie van der Dussen leapfrogging the pecking order?
Cloete and Van der Dussen have fought long and hard for inclusion in the international fold. However, other domestic contemporaries could comfortably nip ahead in the pecking order if the pair doesn’t do well against Zimbabwe. Sarel Erwee and Rudi Second are among the names genuinely jostling for primary positions, while Jon-Jon Smuts presumably isn’t entirely out of the picture yet. Cloete and Van der Dussen, though, certainly seem the most primed for the current posts.
Will Dane Paterson endear the selectors?
A specialist seamer, with minimal ability with the bat, Paterson is in danger of losing out to all-rounders like Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo. South Africa’s first-choice XI, specific to seaming conditions, doesn’t need a fourth specialist option alongside Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn going forward. Paterson’s Charl Langeveldt-esque ability to consistently pinpoint yorkers is well documented – and keeps him in contention.
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