Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson says he has known his preferred 15-man squad for the upcoming World Cup for some time now.
The final squad is expected to be named on 18 April ahead of the warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and West Indies, and before the tournament opener against England in London on 30 May.
While the Proteas’ brains trust may have a good idea of the direction they would like to take, there is still a lot of cricket to be played over the next month.
In addition to the knockout stages of the One-Day Cup this week, as well as the upcoming domestic T20 tournament, there are also five South Africans expected to be in the World Cup squad who are currently playing in this year’s Indian Premier League.
Those players include Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, David Miller and Imran Tahir, while Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje were withdrawn from the tournament in order to rest and recover from injuries.
‘The other day I thought to myself that I wish the World Cup was next week because we’re in such good form at the minute and confidence is high in the team,’ Gibson told the media in Johannesburg on Sunday. ‘The IPL is there and there is also still a domestic season to get through.
‘We’ve asked the guys who have gone off to make sure that they still remember what the biggest picture is with regard to the Proteas set-up. The guys who have gone to the IPL have all got individual programmes around their fitness and their cricket.
‘We have a camp on 12 May and we want to make sure that there are no niggling injuries. We don’t want to be taking injuries into a World Cup, so hopefully that will take care of itself.’
When asked if there was still room for players to make a play for the World Cup squad, Gibson revealed that he was largely settled on who he wanted on the plane to England.
‘I’ve had 15 for a while now, but we’ve got to sit with fingers crossed,’ Gibson said. ‘My experience of working in the IPL is that there is always somebody who comes back with an injury.
‘We just pray that with our guys nobody comes back with anything serious enough to rule them out of the tournament.’
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