The Cricket World Cup Squad of the Proteas

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Mar 04, 2019, 14:30

The following from News 24:-


"Before the first ODI between the Proteas and Sri Lanka got underway at the Wanderers on Sunday, West Indian great Michael Holding said he had "no idea" what the selectors were thinking in terms of Hashim Amla's immediate future and his possible World Cup participation. 

Holding is not the only one in the dark. 

Left out of the squad for the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka because he was apparently in need of a "rest", Amla was in action for the Cape Cobras against the Titans as early as Friday night.

He scored just 10 as his batting struggles continued, but with the World Cup in mind there were at least two other significant contributions to come out of Friday's One Day Cup match. 

JP Duminy made 0 and got through three overs on his long-awaited return to cricket, while Aiden Markram's blistering, record-breaking knock of 169 (129) from No 5 sent a very clear message to the national selectors.   Markram followed that up with another masterclass on Sunday when he carded 139 (127) – this time opening the innings - against the Warriors. 

The Proteas brains trust claim they are 90-odd percent certain of what the World Cup squad will be, but it is hard to believe that when looking at the set-up. 


None of Amla, Duminy or Markram are in the current ODI squad, yet all three could be on the plane to England in the next two-and-a-bit months.    That hardly makes sense with just four ODIs remaining between now and South Africa's World Cup opener against England in London on May 30.

Are the selectors planning on going into the World Cup without Amla?


The smart money is on that not being the case - Amla's pedigree and proven class should see him backed despite being out of touch - but if that is so, then why is he not playing in this Sri Lanka series?

If Amla IS the man to open alongside Quinton de Kock at the top of the order in England, then that should be the opening pair against Sri Lanka. 


While Reeza Hendricks has done his best to play himself into the World Cup squad, he also has no guarantees and will definitely not be 100% sure of his role in England if he gets there. 

In fact, the only certainties we have right now are that De Kock will open the batting and that David Miller will be the designated finisher.

 

Even the role of skipper Faf du Plessis, who batted at No 3 on Sunday for the first time in 10 ODIs, is not clear. Up until Sunday, it looked like Du Plessis was set to operate in the all-important No 4 slot at the World Cup. 


Rassie van der Dussen, meanwhile, continues to look the part even though he has batted in three different positions in just six ODIs and five innings.


By now, the Proteas should know what their best XI is and what roles everyone is expected to fill, but that does not seem to be the case and it is an obvious concern.  


Up until this weekend when Markram found a gear that few in South African cricket can, he looked dead and buried in the World Cup race.

 

Almost overnight, he has sparked outrage from some corners of the South African cricket community over the fact that he is no longer being considered a World Cup option. 

It is easy to forget, though, that Markram was given every chance in the ODI set-up in 2018 without ever cashing in.


Since his 66 on debut against Bangladesh in October 2017, Markram has batted 15 times in ODI colours without making a half-century.  Markram's average of just 25.43 in the format, combined with the emergence of Van der Dussen and Hendricks, saw him sidelined ahead of the Pakistan and Sri Lanka ODI series. 


You simply can't field all of Amla, De Kock, Hendricks, Du Plessis, Van der Dussen, Markram, Duminy and Miller in the same starting XI. 


If the Proteas back six specialist batters at the World Cup as is expected, then two of those names will have to fall out of the top order and perhaps one of them will miss out on the squad altogether. 

There is no doubt that Markram is a special talent and that he has the potential to do big things at a World Cup, but because of his struggles in the ODI side over the last year his inclusion is not set in stone and nor should it be.


If Markram has forced his way back in, then who will make way for him becomes the next conversation.

When fit and in form, Duminy would be one of the Proteas' biggest weapons at the World Cup, but perhaps the time has come to cut him loose in the knowledge that he has missed key build-up. 

The Proteas cannot go in backing experience alone. There must be room left for those who are simply in red-hot form. 


The problem with Duminy is that we don't know if he is in form because he has not played any cricket, while Markram can also offer a few overs of off-spin that make him a like-for-like replacement.

There is equal uncertainty over the allrounder slots – Andile Phehlukwayo v Dwaine Pretorius v Wiaan Mulder - while Anrich Nortje's late introduction to the pace attack brings about further unanswered questions. 


It all paints the picture of a bit of rush job at the back-end of a World Cup cycle. 

The trio of Amla, Markram and Duminy need to know where they stand. If they are in the World Cup mix, then they need to be inserted back into the ODI squad as soon as possible. "


This is a lot of twaddle with very little to get an idea of what should be done,   Sure - Markram  should be in the Sri Lanka squad - but why should Amla and Duminy be even considered.   Amla had a terrible record in play-off games in the World Cup and his batting problems cost the Proteas dearly,   Duminy has not played any cricket for months and to include him in any squad based on reputation only is seriously wrong,


Now back to reality.   I do believe that -


*   neither of Amla, Hendricks or Duminy should be anywhere near the WC squad'

*   Markram should be in the squad; and

*   the selectors should call up Hamza to be part of the squad for the  last two ODI's against Sri Lanka.


The problem remains the bowling component.   I am hesitant about some of  some of our  bowlers and would include Nortje and Ngidi in the squad for the WC,


The issue relates to  the all-rounders there is no  certainty about those - even Morris may get in. 


The uncertainty seems to indicate that there are infighting in SA Cricket circles  involving Gibson who wants a  performing based selection and SA Cricket who wants their quota favourites come hell or high waters. 


      


 
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