JOHANNESBURG – Injuries have delayed the Proteas’ plans of giving their full World Cup squad a run in the one-day international series against Pakistan starting next week, but there’s no panic from coach Ottis Gibson, as the opportunity to give some new faces a go might prove useful.
The injuries to Lungi Ngidi (knee), JP Duminy (shoulder) and Wiaan Mulder (ankle) have upset some of Gibson, the selectors and Faf du Plessis’ plans.
Ngidi is still a month away from playing according to Gibson, Duminy a few weeks, while Mulder has just returned for the Highveld Lions and has played in the franchise’s last two matches.
“I was hoping to play - if everyone had been fit - the team that is as close to the group of guys who will go to the World Cup,” said Gibson yesterday. “But that opportunity isn’t here at the minute and hopefully that will happen when Sri Lanka get here.”
South Africa face Pakistan in a five-match ODI series starting in Port Elizabeth on Saturday with the World Cup in England and Wales later this year very much the focus.
Somewhat surprisingly Aiden Markram was left out of the squad named last week for the first two matches of the series, as the selectors sought to cast their eyes over Rassie van der Dussen. The Lions right hander has been in outstanding form across all formats for the last two seasons. He topped the run scoring list in the four-day competition last season and was the leading run-scorer in Mzansi Super League recently.
“Rassie is in form. He’s made a strong name for himself where ever he has played and the general consensus is to pick a guy while he is hot. His fire is burning quite brightly right now,” said Gibson.
Markram, who played superbly in the second and third Tests against Pakistan, will come into the reckoning for the last three ODIs against Pakistan.
“He is in good form, we know what he can do and it will make sense for him to play later in the series,” Gibson added.@shockerhess