Selection convener Zondi says SA very close to finding best Cricket World Cup squad mix

Cricket SA convenor of selectors Linda Zondi.
Cricket SA convenor of selectors Linda Zondi.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi

National convenor of selectors Linda Zondi says the Proteas are very close to finding their best 2019 Cricket World Cup squad mix.

With only 10 ODI's left against Pakistan and Sri Lanka left next year to iron out any teething issues‚ there's an imperative that players perform and book their spots for next year's 12th 50-over show-piece that'll be taking place in England.

South Africa will open their account against England at the Oval in London on May 30.

The Proteas consummately beat Australia in a three-match ODI series‚ a junket that Zondi feels has answered a few lingering questions.

“We had a lot of questions that we answered in the Australian series.

"It's a pity we had a couple of players who were injured with JP Duminy being the example. He played well in Sri Lanka and we would have loved to see him in the Australia series‚” Zondi said.

“We more or less know about the structure of our side‚ we just now need to finalise in the next two series and see if the guys are going to grab their opportunities.

"The guys must put up their hands and say this is my spot‚ I want to cement my spot and move on. I think we're more than 85 percent in terms of where we want to be in regards as a team and combinations.”

A concern that wasn't adequately addressed in Australia was the top-order and the iffy starts that shaped the last two matches.

The unit started well in the first ODI in Perth but floundered in the following two matches in Adelaide and Hobart.

Quinton de Kock featured in all three games and will be relied on to provide a bulk of the runs at the top.

De Kock also has a massive score to settle with the World Cup after an underwhelming display in Australia and New Zealand three years ago while Veteran Hashim Amla missed the tour due to injury.

Zondi said they need to test their top-order depth in the event of injuries but they can't look any further than De Kock and Amla from an opening perspective.

“Before he got injured‚ Hashim was in good form and Quinton has also looked in reasonable form.

"It's not like they were in bad form but for players like them‚ it's a case of them being on the field playing and backing themselves.

"They're the best opening pair we have and we've tried everyone else‚” he said.

“It's just been a case of testing the back-up players but I think we are clear with our opening pair.

"We just need to finalise the number three spots because the other batsmen have come along nicely. We don't have anything different when it comes to our opening options.”

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