CAPE TOWN – Following the injuries to Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, the Proteas selectors have opted to bolster the batting line-up with Farhaan Behardien for the upcoming limited-overs tour of Australia.
Behardien was included alongside a batting all-rounder in Dwaine Pretorius, while bowling all-rounder Chris Morris is also back in the mix after missing the Sri Lankan tour and Zimbabwe series due to injury.
The selection of Behardien and Morris shows that the Proteas brains-trust are virtually done with their experimentation ahead of next year’s World Cup, and now it’s a shoot-out for the final squad to the end of the international season for all players involved.
Apart from Amla (finger) and Duminy (shoulder), young all-rounder Wiaan Mulder is also still sidelined through injury.
“Chris confirmed his fitness with his excellent form for the Titans in the first two rounds of the Four-Day Domestic Series,” national selection convener Linda Zondi said in a statement on Wednesday.
“He is the leading wicket-taker in this competition to date, and also adds value as a batting option in the lower-order.
“With Wiaan Mulder ruled out at the moment through injury, we need to look at our resources as far as batting all-rounder options are concerned and Dwaine, in particular, fits into this category.
“We have also lost a lot of experience in our specialist batting order through the injuries to Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, and Farhaan gives us another experienced option in the top-order.”
Zondi is pleased with how the bowling stocks are looking at the moment, expressing his satisfaction with the likes of Imran Tahir and Dale Steyn.
He mentioned that Heinrich Klaasen “took his chances well both with bat and behind the stumps, and the same applies to a lesser extent to Reeza Hendricks in a series in which batting was not easy”.
Now it will be up to Hendricks and Aiden Markram to vie for the opening berth alongside Quinton de Kock, although Markram has batted at No 4 in ODI cricket as well.
“We are confident that our Vision 2019 strategy for the ICC World Cup is progressing along the right lines,” Zondi added.
The Proteas will play in three ODIs and a single T20 international, as well as two other tour matches, starting on October 31.
Faf du Plessis (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn.
October 31: Prime Minister’s XI, Manuka Oval, Canberra (D/N)
November 4: 1st ODI, Perth (D/N)
November 9: 2nd ODI, Adelaide Oval (D/N)
November 11: 3rd ODI, Hobart (D/N)
November 14: T20 Tour match, Allan Border Field, Brisbane (Day)
November 17: T20 International, Gold Coast (Night)@ashfakmohamed