Post-Kallis team named next week

2014-01-15 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Andrew Hudson, the convener of the national cricket selection committee, yesterday confirmed that the first South African Test group in the post-Jacques Kallis era will be announced late next week.

“We are meeting on Tuesday to select the group and then there are just some administrative processes that need to be finalised before the team will be announced,” Hudson said yesterday.

He also confirmed there will no longer be a warm-up match against Zimbabwe before the new group’s first Test from February 12 at SuperSport Park against Australia.

Graeme Smith’s team will, however, be able to play against an invitational team — probably over three days — before they meet the Baggy Greens.

Hudson said the group for the three Tests will comprise more than 14 players to ensure extra players are available in case of injuries.

The young players who will be selected will give the first indication of which direction the committee wants to steer the Proteas.

“There should be six batsmen, then an all-rounder at number seven, followed by three fast bowlers and the spinner,” said Hudson.

The all-rounder who must step into the void left by Kallis could be either Ryan McLaren or Wayne Parnell.

Hudson said the chances are good that Faf du Plessis will move to number four in the batting order, where Kallis batted.

As for the group of 15 players who will compete in the T20 World Cup tournament in Bangladesh in March, Hudson said they should be announced in the first week of February.

He said the group has already been relatively established, with just a batsman in the top order and another player who could successfully chase a target in the final overs now needed.

David Miller is the first choice to chase down those last runs, but Hudson said the committee is searching for an understudy for Miller, in case he gets injured.

Farhaan Behardien, who plays for the Titans, could be the first choice if he maintains his recent form.

Hudson said the SA invitational team, or SA ‘A’ team, who will play Australia in Potchefstroom from February 5 to 8, would also be announced soon.

He said the plan was to try and soften the Aussies with that team and reveal any cracks in their defence.

In November 2011, when Australia also played in Potch against the SA ‘A’ team, a newbie from Tzaneen, Marchant de Lange, had the Oz batters ducking for cover with his short balls.

Vernon Philander was also part of that ‘A’ team just before he embarked on his notable Test career.

Due to injury, De Lange will not be available for selection for this series.

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