All hands on deck for places in SA's World Cup squad
South Africa should have a full complement of fit players from which to pick their strongest World Cup squad before the end of the one-day series against Sri Lanka.
Lungi Ngidi‚ who last played for South Africa in November because of a knee injury but has claimed six wickets in two one-day games for the Titans in the past two weeks‚ was on Sunday named for the first three ODIs.
Another key figure‚ JP Duminy‚ is expected back from the shoulder problem that has kept him off the field since October in time to play in the last two games of the five-match rubber.
South Africa could do with that kind of good news in the wake of the shocking completion of their Test series defeat by the Lankans at St George’s Park on Saturday.
The visitors‚ who arrived depleted by the absence of several senior players‚ proved their one-wicket win at Kingsmead was no aberration by winning by eight wickets in the first session of the third day’s play in Port Elizabeth.
That made them the first team from the Asian subcontinent to earn a Test series triumph in South Africa.
Faf du Plessis‚ who admitted that the series had dealt a “massive dent” to his players’ confidence will have to find a way to rally them in time for the first ODI at the Wanderers next Sunday.
In that sense it might help that only five of the 14 involved in the Test series are in the mix for the first three ODIs.
The most notable omission is that of Hashim Amla‚ who along with Heinrich Klaasen‚ Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks all played in the series against Pakistan in January.
“Those players who were in the squad against Pakistan but who have been left out this time have not been dropped‚” selection convenor Linda Zondi was quoted as saying in a Cricket South Africa release.
“We need to use the first part of this series to examine all the options that are available to us.
“We know‚ for example‚ what Hashim Amla has to offer us and he remains a senior member of our squad.”
Of the nine new faces Anrich Nortjé’s shines out. Even though the lower standards of the Mzansi Super League aren’t the best measure‚ the eight wickets the fast bowler took in three games earned him deserved attention.
He was laid low by an ankle injury in November but has returned to action for Eastern Province and the Warriors this month.
South Africa ODI squad:
Faf du Plessis (captain)‚ Quinton de Kock‚ Reeza Hendricks‚ Imran Tahir‚ David Miller‚ Wiaan Mulder‚ Lungi Ngidi‚ Anrich Nortje‚ Andile Phehlukwayo‚ Dwaine Pretorius‚ Kagiso Rabada‚ Tabraiz Shamsi‚ Dale Steyn‚ Rassie van der Dussen.
March 3: first ODI‚ Wanderers
March 6: second ODI‚ Centurion
March 10: third ODI‚ Kingsmead
March 13: fourth ODI‚ St George’s Park
March 16: fifth ODI‚ Newlands