Tahir in, but no place for Rusty

2011-01-07 00:00

THE national selectors gave their clearest indication yet about the possible composition of the squad for next month’s World Cup in Asia.

The 14-man squad named for the five-match series against India which starts in Durban next Wednesday makes for interesting reading, with Jacques Kallis the obvious excluion due to his injury lay-off.

The Proteas ace all-rounder admitted that his double-century exploits at Newlands may have aggravated his muscle strain, and he now faces a four-week layoff.

In his absence, though, the selectors have named a list of names that surely won’t change much when they have to submit the 15-man squad to do duty in Asia.

There are two new caps, with Faf du Plessis’s red-hot form in the MTN40 Championship rewarded. Even more eye-catching, though, is the immediate inclusion of leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Just last week, the Dolphins leggie was granted citizenship, paving the way for higher honours.

As if to justify his promotion, Tahir claimed six wickets in yesterday’s first day of the SuperSport Series against the Warriors.

His involvement means the selectors are very seriously considering taking him to the World Cup, along with two other frontline spinners in vice-captain Johan Botha and Robin Peterson.

Add the fact that Du Plessis provides part-time leg-spin, and JP Duminy is a handy offie, too, and one can see that the Proteas are looking at going in a new direction.

The likes of Tahir and Peterseon will have plenty to prove against an Indian batting card that has had spin as part of its daily diet since infancy, but this series is the last chance for the selectors to try out any combinations.

“We thought it was a good opportunity to give some new players who have impressed a chance to show what they can do,” convenor Andrew Hudson said.

From a local perspective, David Miller was also handed a boost by being included in the squad.

A glaring omission, though, is Warriors seamer Rusty Theron, a tried and tested “death” bowler.

Quite who the Proteas expect to perform this role is unclear. The next five matches may yet force the selectors to reconsider that role, at least.

ODI Squad: Graeme Smith (c), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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