DURHAM – Despite their perilous position at the World Cup, Proteas assistant coach Malibongwe Maketa has dismissed any suggestions of squad rotation for their final two games.
The Proteas have two dead-rubber fixtures remaining with the first clash against Sri Lanka tomorrow in Durham before traveling down to Manchester for the final game against Australia next Saturday.
With results not forthcoming over the past week, and with both the batting and bowling units under-performing, it was expected that at least a few changes would be made for tomorrow’s clash at Chester-le-Street.
JP Duminy is the reserve batsman in the squad and has not played since the third match against India in Southampton, while all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius has been carrying the drinks bottles since the opening defeat to England at The Oval.
Equally, Beuran Hendricks and Tabraiz Shamsi have only played one game so far against Afghanistan and India respectively.
There is a strong case to be made for Hendricks’ inclusion, particularly with Lungi Ngidi struggling for both fitness and form at the World Cup.
Hendricks is also a left-arm option, and considering the success Mitchell Starc, Mohammad Amir, Jason Behrendorff and Shaheen Afridi have enjoyed for their teams, it could be worth a punt to include the Highveld Lions southpaw.
Maketa, though, stressed that any potential changes would only be made due to the conditions and not purely to get everyone involved.
“We don’t look at our squad in that way,” Maketa said in response to squad rotation. “We came with the intention to win the World Cup, and although it hasn’t worked out like that, we (are) not going to start shifting around.
“We are going to play our best team in every game. We are not going to shut off. We can’t win the World Cup, but we will continue to give our best. We want to finish strong.”
There has been plenty of speculation that coach Ottis Gibson may not see out his contract which runs until September, with a call on his future expected to be made by the time the World Cup has ended.
With Maketa’s contract linked to Gibson’s, the former Warriors coach could likely be without of a job too, even though he may harbour ambitions of his own to lead the national team in future.
“Obviously of the reflection from here is tough on all of us. We haven’t performed as well as we would have liked. We have to suffer the consequences of that and we have to take responsibility. It is though a once-off tournament and a lot of good work has been done over the past two years,” Maketa said.
David Miller is struggling with a groin strain and will be examined tomorrow at training.@ZaahierAdams