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Ken Borland



Proteas selectors have some tough decisions to make 0

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Ken

 

South Africa have only really done what was expected of them in beating an under-strength New Zealand team in their one-day series and their selectors still have some tough decisions to make for their tour of India in October.

Sure, South Africa were missing players as well, but only a trio – JP Duminy, Morne Morkel and Faf du Plessis – compared to the half-dozen stars the Black Caps were without, including tone-setting batsman Brendon McCullum, middle-order kingpin Ross Taylor and strike bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

So, playing at home, one would have expected the Proteas to win the series, which they did with an impressive performance in Durban.

But with Duminy, Morkel and Du Plessis all set to return for the five ODIs in India, the selectors have to decide how to fit them back into the squad.

Their most pressing issue is that they still have not solved the all-rounder problem.

David Wiese was unable to have any impact with the bat, scoring just 34 runs in three innings at a strike-rate of 72, and he also met his match in the New Zealand batsmen, conceding over seven runs an over, although he did make an improved contribution with the ball in the win in Durban, taking three wickets.

He bowled 20 overs in those three games and whether he met the expectations of the selectors remains to be seen … their deliberations for the India tour squad will surely also involve Duminy taking Wiese’s place or maybe even giving Ryan McLaren or Chris Morris another go.

One player who most certainly proved himself in the series against New Zealand was Farhaan Behardien.

The 31-year-old has been one of the best finishers in domestic cricket for the last few years and showed that ability with his calm knocks of 70 off 87 balls in Potchefstroom and 40 off 28 deliveries in Durban.

Behardien is seemingly one of those sportsmen that has to work doubly hard to win over the demanding South African public; I’m reminded of Springbok fullback Zane Kirchner in that respect.

The strength of Behardien is his ability to play a dual role – he can play the role of supporting batsman, rotating the strike, for a top-order player who is set, and he can clear the boundary himself in the closing stages. Throw in a couple of overs of medium-pace and his fielding skills and it is clear Behardien is a useful limited-overs package.

Obviously the returns of Duminy and Du Plessis will put his place in the starting XI in danger, but Behardien is the type of player the Proteas should be very happy to have in their squad.

The other big selection decision is whether to persevere with Morne van Wyk after his half-century in Durban. Although the conditions were testing, Van Wyk’s 58 was on the slow side, coming off 100 deliveries and the way he struggled against the slower bowlers, when the ball was not coming on to the bat, suggests the Indian tour could also be a tough one for him.

There seems little point in delaying the return of Quinton de Kock, who went away and did everything the selectors would have asked of him by scoring three centuries for SA A in those same Indian conditions.

While he is certain to be in the squad, the place of David Miller in the starting team could also be on the table after the left-hander continued his run without a half-century to 11 innings, going back to the unbeaten century he scored against Zimbabwe in the opening game of the World Cup. In his defence though, there have been two 49s, a 46 not out and a 44 in that run.

 



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