Victor Mpitsang breaks silence about Reeza Hendricks non-selection at T20 World Cup, Tabraiz Shamsi criticism

Temba Bavuma had a less than ideal performance for the Proteas at the T20 World Cup.

Temba Bavuma had a less than ideal performance for the Proteas at the T20 World Cup.

Published Nov 14, 2022


Johannesburg - Victor Mpitsang has described Reeza Hendricks’ omission from the starting team for every game of the T20 World Cup as “unfortunate.”

Hendricks, South Africa’s fourth highest run-scorer in T20 internationals this year, didn’t face a single ball in the recent World Cup tournament, with SA eliminated in the group stages following an embarrassing defeat to the Netherlands. “At the end of the day we had the captain that was there and we had to give him the best possible chance,” said Mpitsang, convenor of selectors. “It was unfortunate that Reeza didn’t play.”

Hendricks had scored 323 runs in seven innings this year at an average of 46.14 and a strike rate of 139.82, picking up the man-of-the-series award in the Proteas’ series victory against the newly-crowned world champions England in July.

Bavuma meanwhile has struggled, scoring just 134 runs in 12 innings, with a strike rate of 95.71.

Mpitsang explained that Bavuma owed his starting spot down to the fact that he was captain. “Yes, we would have liked Temba to have contributed a little bit more, but the role that he plays on the field is just as big and the role as leader was severe as well,” said Mpitsang. “So it’s unfortunate for Reeza to have missed out, but those were the calls we had to make.”

Meanwhile, Mpitsang said he was very disappointed by criticism levelled at him and former Proteas coach Mark Boucher by Tabraiz Shamsi over the wrist-spinner’s omission for a few matches at the World Cup.

Shamsi implied in a series of tweets during Sunday’s T20 World Cup final between England and Pakistan that he didn’t get the same level of support as England’s leg-spinner Adil Rashid. “Adil Rashid had only two wickets up until this final. Played every game. Was assured of his place every game. Was backed every game ... now we can all see the result of that backing he received over the course of the tournament," Shamsi tweeted.

When asked by a follower "are you indirectly targeting South Africa team management?" Shamsi had no hesitation in clarifying his thinly-veiled criticism of the Proteas selection panel that included Mpitsang, Boucher and Patrick Moroney.

"It's not that deep lol ... I've always been open about the fact that I believe the biggest difference for players to win games in big moments is how much they are backed and how settled they feel within the team. This is just another example that proves it once again in a big game," Shamsi replied.

“It’s disappointing to hear that from Shammo (Shamsi),” Mpitsang said on Monday. “I was on tour with him and if there were issues, he was more than welcome to come and have a chat with me about that. At the end of the day when the team was selected and the bowling attack was selected, it was (about what was) best suited for the conditions the team played,” said Mpitsang, adding that the selectors based their decision on a “horses for courses” policy.

Shamsi played in two matches at the tournament, both at the Sydney Cricket Ground, picking up 3/20 against Bangladesh and 1/30 against Pakistan.

“If I am there and the coach is there, we can have that conversation about that. The bowling attack that we put out there was based on the conditions we were faced with,” said Mpitsang.