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Ken Borland

Unavailability of Rassie made squad selection easy, but now Bavuma or Hendricks to the fore 0

Posted on October 21, 2022 by Ken

The unavailability of Rassie van der Dussen due to injury made the selectors’ job an easy one when it came to choosing South Africa’s squad for the T20 World Cup, but the obvious headache of how to fit in both the captain, Temba Bavuma, and Reeza Hendricks, the player of the series against both England and Ireland, is now to the fore.

Van der Dussen broke his finger in the second Test against England and his absence has allowed Bavuma to return from the torn elbow ligament that kept him out of the entire UK tour, while powerhouse batsmen Rilee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs keep their places.

Hendricks has been in the type of form that makes him all but undroppable, with four half-centuries and a 42 in his last five innings for the Proteas, and he has continued that red-hot form with 257 runs at an average of 85.66 and a strike-rate of 154.81 for the Central Gauteng Lions in the Namibia Global T20 they won on Monday.

But convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said on Tuesday that he could not envisage a situation where the Proteas would leave out their captain at the World Cup.

“Rassie broke his finger in the last Test and needs surgery, which will leave him with up to six weeks of recovery. The timings are just not right, which is why he was excluded,” Mpitsang said at the squad announcement at Cricket South Africa’s offices on Tuesday.

“Temba has been playing in Namibia over the last week, he is well-recovered, and good to go. I think he will open the batting, that’s been his role for the last year or two.

“Previously, Reeza opened in India and Temba was at three, but Rilee has now done a great job at three against England. We will have to see how we balance the top-order, to get the best out of them.

“It would be a tough decision to leave out your captain, I can’t see that happening. But nothing has been decided yet and it’s so difficult to make calls now,” Mpitsang said.

The 15-man World Cup squad and the three travelling reserves – Andile Phehlukwayo, Marco Jansen and Bjorn Fortuin – will play a three-match series in India that ends on October 4.

Three ODIs will then be played over the next week, for which Janneman Malan and Phehlukwayo come in for Stubbs and Rossouw, before the Proteas leave for Australia and their opening World Cup match against a qualifier in Hobart on October 24.

Mpitsang believes the Proteas have an attack to adapt to whatever conditions confront them.

“There are good headaches to have because it means we have a lot of bases covered. We have definitely selected with consideration for the pitches and we feel the 15 will cover conditions well.

“We will make adjustments when we get there. We can make the right calls for the conditions we face, we have got the right options.

“We have two spinners and Aiden Markram, a left-armer in Wayne Parnell if we need that. The crucial thing is we’ve got bowlers who can take wickets, because that’s the only way to restrict teams in T20.

“We are more than capable of putting other teams under pressure and I’m excited by the brand of cricket we’ve played for the last few months,” Mpitsang said.

Squad: Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Rilee Rossouw.

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