Ottis Gibson says he is sure about 10 out of 15 players for his World Cup squad.
The Sri Lanka tour was an exhibition for Gibson and selectors. It gave emerging players a chance to stick their hands up for a starting position and allowed Gibson to analyse the options available to him.
Focusing on the World Cup side, Gibson ran through his options.
‘We feel like right now we [have] 10 spots out of 15,’ said Gibson.
‘Look, we brought a very inexperienced bowling lineup here [in Sri Lanka]. It’s not so much on purpose but about who is available.
‘[Chris] Morris is injured. For Dale [Steyn] to go back and play county cricket will be good for him because we know what he can do in one-day cricket. We know what [Imran] Tahir can do. We said to him that we know he is our No 1 but we want him to go play some cricket [elsewhere], to give us the opportunity to see [Tabraiz] Shamsi and [Keshav] Maharaj.
‘Shamsi has been brilliant on the trip. We left out Shamsi in the last two ODIs to give Keshav an opportunity. So we have seen both of them now and have to decide whether we are going to take two spinners to the World Cup.
‘We look at the makeup of India at the moment, they have a leg-spinner and Kuldeep [Yadav] as well. We now have the opportunity to pick [between] those two guys [Maharaj and Shamsi] in our team.
‘Getting them into the squad is one thing but getting them into a team – because they are very one dimensional in terms of bowling; at least Kuldeep Yadav can bat a bit, where Immy and Shamo are proper No 11s and 10s – so we have to see how we set our team up.’
The Proteas not only experimented with their bowling lineup but with the No 7 and No 8 positions too, giving both Andile Phehlukwayo and Wiaan Mulder extended runs in the side.
‘We have two all-rounders – Andile has played 30 games, Mulder has played six games now,’ Gibson added. ‘We’ve looked at some guys and seen where they are. We still have a couple of series but also franchise cricket at home that we can now start to get them up to the level they need to be at because we have seen some issues in where they are at at the moment.’
This has not shifted Gibson’s belief in David Miller.
‘Miller is very much a part of what we doing, but again in order to see somebody, you have to rest somebody. We wanted to see the two all-rounders and see what they got and unfortunately, Miller missed out.
‘Everyone was told before the series that we are going to look at other people. Of course, we want to win every game but we also look at players and sometimes when you do that, it sort of weakens your team. We walk away from here having won the one-day series with a very inexperienced bowling attack but we have also seen some players now.
‘We can say “yes” to some players, “maybe” to some players and “not ready yet” to others. Then we will look at who we can get back in – we still have Morris and Tahir who are likely to come back in.
‘We also still know what Dale Steyn can do as a bowler. We have answered some questions, there are still some questions we not sure about yet and then we still have some people coming back in to make us stronger going forward.’
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