Anrich Nortje is expected to be fit in time for the pre-World Cup training camp. Photo: BackpagePix

The fact that coach Ottis Gibson wants the Proteas to play “confident cricket” played a role in the make-up of the World Cup squad announced on Thursday.

That was the word from selection convenor Linda Zondi.

Hashim Amla was the major talking point in the build-up to the announcement, and he eventually made the 15-man group despite a difficult last few months, where he has had to deal with his father being seriously ill.

Amla returned to the middle for the Cobras in the T20 Challenge, where he has battled to get going.

But his experience and excellent record in England would’ve counted in his favour.

Reeza Hendricks was the man to miss out, although it could be argued that Amla wasn’t necessarily the one to be chosen ahead of him.

Aiden Markram and David Miller have also struggled in recent months, but Zondi and his panel opted to stick with them, with Hendricks experiencing a sharp drop in form after a strong start to the season.

“Ottis wanted to play confident cricket, whereas in the past, we were very conservative. That played a part in looking at the combinations in the side, and the type of players we’ve picked,” Zondi said at the televised squad announcement at the SuperSport studios in Randburg.

“This is a different side to 2015. We have mixed both youth and experience, and this is a team that represents the country.

“We have seven guys from the last World Cup (squad), and the eight new guys, which symbolises the strength of franchise cricket and our pipeline (of developing players for the national team).

“We have three players who were part of the Under-19 World Cup (Markram, Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo won the tournament in 2014).

“We have two wrist-spinners and two all-rounders. With regards to not having an extra wicket-keeper, we felt that when you look at the batting and bowlers, some of the keepers we are looking at, in terms of their performance, they weren’t quite there.

“That’s why we went with David Miller to wear the gloves against Sri Lanka, so that he can fit in if anything happens to Quinton de Kock.

“We felt to have the extra seamer and batter will definitely strengthen the team, and we can call up an extra keeper if needed.”

Zondi added that Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje, who have been injured in recent weeks, “are well on the way to recovery, and we expect them to be ready for our pre-tournament camp next month”.

The Proteas will begin their World Cup against England at The Oval on May 30.

Proteas World Cup Squad

Faf du Plessis (captain), JP Duminy, David Miller, Dale Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Hashim Amla, Tabraiz Shamsi.

@ashfakmohamed


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