Convener of selectors Andrew Hudson has defended the selection of seamer Vernon Philander for South Africa’s World Cup semi-final fixture against New Zealand, which resulted in a disappointing four-wicket defeat at Eden Park earlier this week.
Hampered by a hamstring injury throughout the group stage, Philander was picked ahead of fast bowler Kyle Abbott for Tuesday’s decider. While Abbott’s impressive tournament statistics of nine wickets in four fixtures at an average of just 14.44 remained untouched, Philander copped plenty of expense in Auckland.
He, in fact, traveled for 52 runs in eight overs – and went without a wicket. His hamstring injury, too, recurred. The all-rounder’s prowess with the bat, meanwhile, was not required.
‘It was a tough decision, but I think when Vernon was fit and came back from injury, and with Kyle being the form man, it was always going to be a tough ask,’ the Star quoted Hudson as saying.
‘But we have to remember, Vernon has also performed for us over the years, and I think we were hoping that in New Zealand conditions he would have nipped it around a bit and do some damage. I also think that he gives us extra batting option at number eight, which helps us with our tail.’
The Proteas will tour Bangladesh for two Twenty20 Internationals, as many Tests and three ODIs in July, while the Black Caps will tour for three ODIs and two T20Is in August. Four Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is will be played against England in South Africa toward the end of the year.
‘With tours coming up, there will be opportunities to rest guys and a bit of rotation as well. We will definitely be starting the building process to give guys more matches and to get the guys close to 40 or 50 caps by the time the next World Cup come around,’ concluded Hudson.