Disappointment awaits half of South Africa’s 30-man preliminary squad, as the final 15 for February’s World Cup is announced on Wednesday.
AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn are definites, while Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy will be included subject to recovery from respective ankle and knee injuries. Ryan McLaren has all but secured the coveted all-rounder berth, which Vernon Philander is also somewhat privy too.
Rilee Rossouw can float up and down the order, while the so-called ‘finisher’ role will be shared by David Miller and Farhaan Behardien – and new-found death bowler Kyle Abbott should welcome support in Marchant de Lange and Kagiso Rabada.
The touring party, indeed, pretty much selects itself – unless de Kock doesn’t recover soon enough. Russell Domingo doesn’t want de Villiers playing as a wicketkeeper-batsman in ODI cricket. Morne van Wyk, then, should be the de facto choice – rather than Andrew Puttick.
Mthokozisi Shezi has taken a back seat to Rabada in the pecking order – and one can only hope Wayne Parnell has fallen from favour once and for all.
2007’s Caribbean conditions and the low and slow pitches encountered on the sub-continent in 2011 demanded a specialist spinner or two. This time, in Australia and New Zealand, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso and Imran Tahir must be deemed surplus to requirement.
Rory Kleinveldt, Chris Morris, Beuran Hendricks and Lonwabo Tsotsobe haven’t done enough since returning from injury – and Reeza Hendricks and David Wiese are better suited to T20I competition now. Justin Ontong, evidently, is a great domestic cricketer – but not much more. Dean Elgar, meanwhile, has fashioned a niche at Test
‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ is a very apt idiom for the final collective, while the leftovers can jostle for position in the event of injury to a first-choice player, racial quota obligations or selection surprise, to which Andrew Hudson and company invariably are not prone.
The choice of a specialist spinner would open the door for Phangiso. An extra batsman should mean a belated international lifeline for Ontong, while an additional seamer must return Tsotsobe to the fray.
Preliminary 30: AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan Mclaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Andrew Puttick, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne van Wyk, David Wiese.
Wilson’s 15: AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Ryan Mclaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.