• ‘Imran Tahir is my first-choice’

    Three specialist spinners were picked for the Tests, but Imran Tahir should go to India as theĀ first-choice for South Africa.

    I wasn’t really surprised by the announcement of the different squads for the tour to India in October and November. There is no one who is outstanding that has been left out. I think the selectors have experimented for too long and that has to stop now.

    The tour to India is the start of a very important four-month period for the Proteas. It’s as important a tour as we’ve ever had, especially if you consider the retirements of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith over the last two years.

    Tahir is one of three spinners in the Test squad together with Simon Harmer and Dane Piedt, but I don’t think that means South Africa will necessarily have two specialist spinners in the starting XI.

    We shouldn’t forget about JP Duminy, who will be in the Test team anyway as a batsman. Having three specialist spinners at your disposal is one thing, but not any spinner will do, especially in Indian conditions.

    India play spin very well but South Africa can’t play two specialist spinners. Duminy is there as a backup to whoever plays, but having two spinners isn’t something that happens that often these days.

    Tahir would be my first-choice with Duminy supporting him. Tahir is experienced, has played a World Cup in India where he performed really well and also has IPL experience in those conditions.

    It is also imperative that Faf du Plessis is fit for the tour as he is still struggling with a knee injury. His presence in the batting order has become crucial because he gives balance to the side and is a sensible batter, especially in the shorter formats.

    I feel Vernon Philander’s omission from the ODI squad has been overdue for a while. He hasn’t really done the job for period of time now; the selectors have to look at Kagiso Rabada as the third seamer going forward.

    I hope the plan to bat AB de Villiers at the top of the order in the shorter formats is implemented against India. I don’t know where Quinton de Kock will bat now that he has returned to the side, but I like the idea of AB coming in at three and Faf at four. It’s not really productive to have Hashim Amla and Du Plessis batting together at the fall of the first wicket.

    I don’t feel like the talent we have translates into consistency enough and we need to improve in that regard, starting with this tour.

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    Graeme Pollock