South Africa have quite a few selection issues to ponder when they take on Australia in a three-match T20 series in the next week.
Everyone gets a run
There are a few batsmen in the squad who need some time in the middle before South Africa start their World T20 campaign. Coach Russell Domingo acknowledged as much this week and chief among them is David Miller and Rilee Rossouw. Miller didn’t play in any of the five ODIs against England and didn’t get a chance to bat in the second T20 international either. Rossouw has been in and out of the side lately and both need to boost their confidence before heading to India.
Dale Steyn is fit and raring to go again after a two-month injury lay-off and is set to play at least two of the three matches against Australia. South Africa will hope it goes well and that he stays fit, because his experience and pace could be a big factor for them in Indian conditions. A bowling attack of Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, David Wiese and Imran Tahir looks pretty good on paper.
With Steyn returning, Kyle Abbott looks the most likely player to miss out. It will be a shame if that happens, because Abbott has been a consistent performer for the Proteas in the shorter formats. He has become a sort of ‘stand-in’ player for the team, stepping in whenever needed and usually does a good job of it, despite not getting a regular run in the team. He has benefited from Steyn’s absence over the past few months. But with the rise of Kagiso Rabada, there seems to be room for just two specialist seamers if both Chris Morris and David Wiese play, and Steyn will always be a first-choice.
The ball is in Quinny’s court
After winning his place back in the Test and ODI side, Quinton de Kock now has prove that he is the best candidate to open the batting with AB de Villiers in T20 cricket. He faces stiff competition from Hashim Amla, who played in De Kock’s absence in the two T20Is against England and impressed in the big victory at the Wanderers. Probed on the issue of possibly playing both in the starting XI, Domingo hinted it would be difficult to do, which means they’ll have to choose between the two. When De Kock gets his chance against the Aussies, he’ll have to once again remind the selectors of his qualities at the top of the order.
Results still matter
Even though everyone in the squad will get a chance to play in the series, winning while rotating remains important because confidence is always key going into a big tournament like the World Cup. South Africa have shown a penchant for getting themselves out of tough situations recently and while two all-rounders at No 7 and No 8 provide some crucial balance to the side, the team’s success will more often than not hinge on the top order.