With just over 100 days to go to the start of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, the Cricket South Africa selectors have their hands full with an approximate four available spots left in the World Cup squad.
South Africa have 13 ODI’s, six T20s and three Tests before they head to the World Cup, giving the selectors a fair opportunity to fine tune their final 15. Already we have a fair idea of who Russell Domingo and co have in mind for the competition, however looking at the current ODI squad heading to New Zealand it would seem that there are four places up for grabs at the World Cup.
In Part 1 of 2, I take a look at the Definites and Probables…
These are the guys who are 100% guaranteed a spot in the final 15-man squad barring injury or one of the following: the release of a Kevin Pietersen-like autobiography, an Aaron Cruden-like all-nighter or obtaining a criminal record which would prevent entry into Australia (quite ironic when you consider how they started the country).
Definites: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn.
You may question Parnell’s inclusion on my Definites list due to his inconsistent performances and severe lack of BMT. However, apart from being a favourite of Domingo’s (who coached him at the Warriors), Parnell has immense talent and capabilities. As a left-arm seamer who can swing the ball prodigiously and send the speed gun past 140 km/h, he gives you great variation in your attack and can fulfill a Mitchell Starc type role in the side. His batting adds another string to his bow as the line-up with Steyn coming in at eight looks about as secure as the EP Kings defensive line. Parnell needs to play in as many games as possible for the Proteas in the lead up to the World Cup as I firmly believe he has an important role to play. If he can stop bowling half-trackers at the death and visit a new hairdresser, then few would protest his inclusion in the final squad.
The probables are the four remaining members of the current 15-man squad in New Zealand that have question marks over their heads.
Probables: Kyle Abbott, David Miller, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw
Abbott is dependable and has not let anyone down in the Proteas colours. He has been a part of the squad for a while now, but hasn’t had a solid run in the side yet. He has played just six ODI’s to date and whilst his average isn’t exciting (56.33) his economy rate is (3.99). He has been the country’s premier domestic bowler for the last two season and deserves a national spot, he just needs to prove himself in the coming months when the odd opportunity presents itself.
If the World Cup was the IPL, David Miller would be our captain. Bucket loads of talent, BMT, safe pair of hands and the athletic ability of a leopard, Moose has it all. Plus he can hit the ball from here into next week. He has been part of the Proteas set-up for four years now and it is quite evident that the powers that be have faith in him. Moose needs to repay that faith rather promptly or questions will be asked of his role as the number six batsmen (bearing in mind that the Top 5 are pretty much set in stone: Amla, De Kock, Faf, AB and JP).
The Philanthropist (aka Vern) has been sensational in the purist format of the game despite somewhat of a recent slump with only 10 wickets in six Tests this year. His ODI record is decent, but he has yet to nail down a spot. He is capable of filling the number eight role with the bat, but there are concerns about his effectiveness with the ball once it’s gotten a tad old. Other question marks hang over his death bowling ability and the fact that his natural length may be a touch full for ODI cricket.
Rilee Rossouw is new to the national set-up. His first two ODI’s yielded ducks, before a solid showing in his third in which he notched up an important 36 and claimed his first List A wicket! Since his school days at Grey College, Rossouw has been earmarked for big things. He has proven himself on the domestic circuit and for SA A, but is yet to do so at the top. He is currently the backup batsman in the side and whilst he is a top order player by trade, his aggressive hard-hitting style makes him a suitable lower-middle order option.
*Look out for Part II on Monday 20 October when I look at the Possibles and Old Brown Dogs, whilst I will also name my ideal squad for the World Cup.