South Africa’s squad for this month’s final two ODIs against Sri Lanka features two glaring omissions: Reeza Hendricks and Wiaan Mulder.
While the squad for the preceding three ODIs against the Sri Lankans and January’s series against Pakistan saw several justified experimental selections, Monday’s announcement ostensibly solidified the 15 that will go to the World Cup later this year.
The changes for this weeks ODIs in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, though, will all but answer some final questions ahead of May, June and July’s global showpiece in the United Kingdom.
Hendricks hasn’t done enough to warrant selection for the World Cup. Despite plenty of success for the Lions in List A competition and late last year’s fruitful campaign for the Jozi Stars in the Mzansi Super League, Hendricks hasn’t been able to able to convert that fine form across the international stage.
Amla hasn’t been great recently, but not terrible either, and will ride on Cricket South Africa convener of selectors Linda Zondi’s statement that ‘experience is always a key factor in major tournaments such as the World Cup.’ Opening batsman Hendricks doesn’t have that experience – and is a less valuable middle-order option than Aiden Markram or Rassie van der Dussen.
Like Markram and JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius has starred in the ongoing One-Day Cup – and currently possesses more pizzazz with bat and ball than fellow all-rounder and franchise team-mate Mulder.
‘It has has also been highly encouraging is see how well the Proteas have played when they have returned to franchise cricket. It is important that they should dominate at this level and that their skills should rub off on our emerging talent,’ noted Zondi.
Pretorius is presently a stronger fit to Zondi’s sentiment than Mulder. They’ve effectively performed evenly with the ball over the past couple of months, but Pretorius has had the ‘rub’ with the bat.
St George’s Park and Newlands will see the Proteas ‘continue to examine all the options that are available as far as the World Cup squad is concerned,’ according to Zondo. Those options are becoming increasingly refined, with Hendricks and Mulder evidently surplus to requirement – now and in England later this year.