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Johannesburg – Rory Kleinveldt’s inclusion in the South African squad for the trip to Australia appears to be a move aimed at spicing up a bowling unit that is probably among the best produced by this country in the post-isolation era.
Whether Kleinveldt gets a similar opportunity to show off his skill as his good mate Vernon Philander did last year remains to be seen. The South African attack is a well-established one, just under a year on from Philander’s explosive Test debut in Cape Town, they can reasonably stake a claim for being the best in the Test arena at the moment.
The problem for Gary Kirsten, his coaching staff and the selectors, concerns the depth available to them should one of the front-line bowlers get injured – Marchant de Lange continues to sit out due to the back injury he picked up playing in the IPL earlier this year.
It is becoming apparent that Lonwabo Tsotsobe, whom Kleinveldt replaced in the Test squad, is being seen as a limited-overs specialist. Even in that regard, the lanky left-arm seamer from the Eastern Cape has a lot of work to do to keep his place in the South African team, given how alarmingly lethargic he appeared in the latter stages of the limited overs series in England recently.
Tsotsobe and his Warriors teammate, Wayne Parnell, need overs under their belt in the four-day competition to get back into rhythm and find some form. It worked for Philander, before his elevation into the Test side last year, and clearly Andrew Hudson and his panel are hoping it will work again with the selection of Kleinveldt.
“It is tough luck for Lopsy to miss out but we feel that Rory’s ability to hit the deck hard will give us a valuable option, particularly in Brisbane and Perth,” said Hudson.
“He also adds batting depth to the lower order.
“The fact that he finished second in last season’s four-day bowling averages behind Vernon Philander speaks for itself and he continued his form for the South Africa A side at home to Sri Lanka and away in Ireland.”
Kleinveldt hasn’t been quite as explosive domestically as Philander in recent years. Last season’s haul of 32 wickets at an average of 17.93 was his best summer for four years in the four-day SuperSport Series and in the Cape Cobras’ only completed match in this season’s Sunfoil Series, he picked up four wickets in a thumping win over the Highveld Lions in Potchefstroom. The 29-year-old is an aggressive bowler, sometimes overly so, and has been in trouble with Cricket SA’s disciplinary office a few times. Last season he was suspended after testing positive for marijuana.
In the other additions to the squad, Thami Tsolekile will provide back-up for AB de Villiers, who returned from the World T20 with a badly damaged left ankle and a back-strain. Tsolekile was in England following the career-ending injury to Mark Boucher, but played no part in the three Tests. The national side’s management are hoping that with rest De Villiers will still be able to don the gloves Down Under.
Faf du Plessis will also tour, providing back-up for the middle order.
South Africa will leave for Australia on October 27, playing a three-day warm-up match against an Australia A team in Sydney from November 2.
The first of three Tests starts at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 9.
Squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morné Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robbie Peterson, Vernon Philander, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn, Thami Tsolekile