BLOEMFONTEIN – With a 2-0 Test series victory over Bangladesh out of the way, new Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has started planning for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
After winning the second Test with two days to spare, the first of three one-day internationals against Bangladesh is set for Kimberley on Sunday, and it will mark the first stage on a long road to the showpiece in England.
Former West Indies all-rounder Gibson has been charged with ending South Africa’s failure to win a major global event.
After the Proteas’ innings win against Bangladesh, he said he and captain Faf du Plessis have already started working towards the tournament.
“We’ve got about 30 to 35 one-day games between now and 2019,” said Gibson.
“The idea between Faf and myself and the selectors is to have a look at players, to give opportunities to players who might be on the fringes, so that in a year’s time we narrow that pool down.
“At the moment we need a wide pool of players to look at, so we can start to see who we might need, also bearing in mind the conditions.
“We’ll be playing in England, so we’ll be looking at the type of players we might need for those conditions, to give them opportunities in the next year.”
Gibson said that in the year leading up to the World Cup, he hoped to have a good idea of which players to take.
“The last year is to try to nail down 15 or 16 names we can pencil in. But it’s still a long way between now and then,” he said.
Gibson has had talks with fast bowler Morné Morkel, who reportedly is thinking of accepting a county contract in England if he doesn’t get assurances that he will be part of the World Cup plans.
“That’s not my understanding,” said Gibson.
“I absolutely didn’t tell him anything about the World Cup because it is so far away. I encouraged him to enjoy his cricket, which he was doing last week until he pulled up (with an injury).”
Gibson is looking forward to meeting star batsman AB de Villiers, who was not available for the Tests, but is currently playing in a first-class match for his franchise, the Titans.
De Villiers will also play for a South African Invitation XI in a warm-up match for Bangladesh in Bloemfontein on Thursday ahead of the one-day internationals.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing AB in the next week,” said Gibson. “I’ve had a few conversations with him, but we haven’t had a face-to-face yet.”
Gibson said he was pleased with the way the Test team had performed in a one-sided series against Bangladesh.
“At the start of the season, everyone said ‘easy series’, but you still have to go and play cricket.
“We’re very happy with the cricket we played. I said to the players, ‘if you believe the opposition isn’t that good, you must play to a standard’, and we’ve played to a very high standard.”