Picking Morne van Wyk ahead of Quinton de Kock for the incoming tour of New Zealand doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t know what Van Wyk’s inclusion achieves. He is not a long-term solution as a wicketkeeper, but if he scores runs against the Black Caps then the selectors must stick with him. Even if De Kock has similar success for South Africa A in India.
If that happens, Van Wyk must continue in the role. The selectors have picked him and if he delivers, they have to back him.
Quinton is expected to score runs against India A and Australia A so his results on that tour are not that significant. He has already scored a hundred against India A and if he regains his form it will improve his confidence.
Every tour is important, but South Africa will be out to rectify their ODI series defeat against Bangladesh when they face a weakened New Zealand on South African pitches.
A few New Zealand players will be missing the tour due to injury while some are being rested. I find this strange, but I suspect the IPL has an impact on these kind of decisions where sometimes it gets preference over international cricket.
Looking at the ODI team, I would definitely continue with Kagiso Rabada in place of Vernon Philander. Philander hasn’t played a lot of cricket of late and has also been injury prone. Rabada did enough in Bangladesh to get the nod again; he will in all likelihood be even more effective in the local conditions.
If the Ashes taught us one thing, it’s that England should produce more green wickets when they play at home. It’s a point Ian Botham made recently and I fully agree with him. At home in seaming conditions they have the best bowling attack in the world.
I guess in some ways Michael Clarke’s retirement was inevitable after the heavy defeat in the fourth Test. He’s had a long, successful career but for the last year or so he has become suspect to quick bowling. His body language on the field also wasn’t great and he didn’t look very motivated.
A lot has been made about Australia’s shortcomings with the bat, and I would argue that T20 cricket is affecting Test batsmen in a negative way. Australia’s batsmen struggled to construct long innings and protect their wickets and I think 20-over cricket is partly to blame for that.
Steve Smith is the favourite to take over the captaincy from Clarke, but I don’t see him as a convincing leader in the long-term with the ability to be aggressive and motivate players.