With the T20 World Cup scheduled for later this year, CARL LEWIS highlights some potential selection bolters that could add quality ahead of the showpiece.
Mark Boucher’s tenure as the South African national team head coach has been far from successful thus far. The Proteas lost both the ODI and T20 series against Pakistan recently and this naturally opens up selection questions about the T20 side. It must be noted that many key players were allowed to leave the Proteas camp to join their IPL franchises.
Here we discuss players not playing international cricket or who are on the fringes of the Proteas T20 squad that could make an impact.
AB de Villiers
Did you really expect AB to not be on this list? At 37, De Villiers is still one of the best in the game in white-ball cricket (red-ball as well if we are honest). His recent exploits in the IPL proves just how good he still is. De Villiers’ presence in a World Cup squad would bring experience, quality and dynamism to a middle order that lacks purpose during the middle overs. A middle order of De Villiers, Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller is an enticing prospect on paper. CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith has indicated the door is still open.
It’s unbelievable how little the Chennai Super Kings have used the wily South African leg-spinner. The 42-year-old did get one match in the IPL this year and did not disappoint picking up two wickets and going for just four runs per over. Tahir is clearly still fit enough and good enough to play international cricket. It will be harsh on the Proteas’ incumbent leg-spinner, Tabraiz Shamsi, who has been so patient, but Tahir is world class and also a match-winner.
Now, this might seem out of left field but Parnell is playing very good cricket at the moment. At 31, he’s matured a lot since making such a huge impact at the T20 World Cup in 2009. Parnell is back domestically, having signed with Western Province which is good news for South African cricket. He still possesses the skill to bowl at the death and just before he left domestic cricket, he was racking up the runs for the Cobras and winning awards as well. His last match for the Proteas was in 2017, and there is a sense that Parnell has unfinished business in international cricket. He can certainly push the likes of Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius.
Most was surprised by Morris’ price tag at the IPL auction this year, but the price was indicative of how much his skills are valued in T20 cricket. The all-rounder did well in terms of handling the pressure of the hefty price tag. He was second on the wicket-takers list this year and led the Rajstah Royals attack well in the absence of Jofra Archer. We should not forget about his match-winning potential – his 36 not our against the Kolkata Knight Riders was a timely reminder of his quality with the willow. Morris is inconsistent but he is also a potential match-winner.
Maharaj’s control and efficacy in white-ball cricket are criminally underrated. In this year’s CSA T20 Challenge, Maharaj picked up eight wickets but his economy rate was a ridiculous 4.54 during the tournament. Maharaj could certainly be used effectively in a World Cup that takes place in Asia.
Verreynne might have had a short run in the ODI side but shockingly did not get a match in the T20I series against Pakistan. It seems Boucher does not see Verreynne as a viable option in the T20 side, but I disagree. In Verreynne, South Africa has a serious talent who has proven it domestically in every format. The best thing about Verreynne is his temperament; he seems to shine in the big moments and when the pressure is on. This is a valuable trait in a World Cup.