After being handed a surprise Test debut in India last October, George Linde has been curiously absent from all Proteas squads in the home summer.
Linde played in a team that got smashed by India in Ranchi, but the spin-bowling all-rounder acquitted himself quite well, playing a brace of gritty knocks and toiling away for figures of 4-133.
He enjoyed a decent Test debut, but it is in white-ball cricket that many feel Linde can make the biggest impact.
Linde did not enjoy the best Mzansi Super League straight after that tour to India, but he has been handy in a young Cobras side’s Momentum One-Day Cup struggle.
It might be unfair to judge Bjorn Fortuin on a handful of internationals and one poorly executed scoop shot, but Linde does bring more to the party than the Lions tweaker when it comes to batting.
Fortuin has been limited to bowling two overs and playing cameo innings. With that level of involvement, the Proteas might be better off considering a player known for coming through in big moments with the bat.
Linde has not been included in the squad to face Australia, so barring injury he will need to keep plugging away at domestic level and hope for a T20I call-up for the away series against the West Indies.
The wickets in the Caribbean provide enough assistance to spinners as Tabraiz Shamsi and Imran Tahir will attest from their successful spells in the CPL.
A first-class ton in January proves the batting potential of Linde, and in the long term he might even be able to command a position in the top six in white-ball cricket.
The current balance of the Proteas side dictates that, if a second spinner is picked, he must be able to wield the willow with some confidence.
We will never know what might have happened if Linde had walked out at Kingsmead in the second T20I to face that last ball against England.
What we do know is that Linde has come through for the Cobras in plenty of tricky situations, and his presence in a Proteas side would enhance the team’s batting power.
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