Van Wyk’s fairy tale ends

2015-01-08 00:00

DOLPHINS captain Morné van Wyk was denied a fairy-tale end to his international career yesterday when he was left out of the 15-man Proteas squad that will do battle at next month’s ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Van Wyk had come into the reckoning after an injury to first-choice wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock, but SuperSport analyst Pommie Mbangwa blew the lid on Van Wyk’s disappointment before the squad had even been announced.

When interviewing captain AB de Villiers at the announcement, which took place at the Waterfront in Cape Town, Mbangwa dropped a subtle hint that Van Wyk would not be one of the 14 names to follow the captain’s.

“Good luck with the keeping, we hope you don’t have to do too much of it,” he told the Proteas skipper, effectively shutting the door on any hopes that Van Wyk had.

The 34-year-old, after a good run in domestic cricket, had been named in the 30-man preliminary squad. When De Kock then broke down with ankle ligament damage on the third day of the first Test against the West Indies, it appeared that Van Wyk would come into play as a serious World Cup option, especially given coach Russell Domingo’s desire to keep the gloves as far away from De Villiers as possible. Van Wyk’s chances gathered even more momentum last week when he was named in the Proteas’ T20 squad for the upcoming series against the West Indies. But a ticket to the World Cup was a bridge too far for the 35-year-old, who played the last of his 13 ODIs for South Africa at the 2011 World Cup on the subcontinent.

“It looks like Quinton [de Kock] is going to be okay,” Domingo explained yesterday. “Hopefully, in the next three or four weeks, he will start hitting some balls and he’ll be ready for that first game against Zimbabwe [February 14].”

De Kock was not the only other injury concern as JP Duminy, who continues to recover from a left knee injury, was also included.

There was further disappointment for the Dolphins in what was perhaps the biggest shock of the announcement. All-rounder Ryan McLaren, a mainstay of the 50-over side for over two years, lost out on a place while two specialist spinners were named in the Dolphins’ Imran Tahir and the Lions’ Aaron Phangiso.

McLaren’s ability to change pace could have been a major asset on the flat Australian wickets, on which the spinners will do well to find any kind of purchase.

“There are always going to be players unlucky not to have made the final squad and our thoughts go out to them,” said Domingo.

Captain AB de Villiers had no doubts over the chosen squad.

“I know that these 15 guys are the right guys to do the job,” he said, adding that he was confident heading into the tournament. “Proteas are the one flower that regenerates after a fire. As a country, our biggest characteristic has been resilience and that is the attitude we will be taking with us.”

There was room for two other Dolphins in the squad in the form of Kyle Abbott and David Miller. Abbott will battle to get into the starting XI ahead of the seasoned pace attack of Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel and Vernon Philander, while Miller will almost certainly be used as the dedicated finisher in the side — able to move up and down the batting order depending on match scenarios, as Lance Klusener did for the Proteas in England in 1999.

PROTEAS WORLD CUP SQUAD

AB de Villiers (Titans, captain), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras, vice captain), Kyle Abbott (Dolphins), Farhaan Behardien (Titans), Quinton de Kock (Highveld Lions), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), David Miller (Dolphins), Morné Morkel (Titans), Wayne Parnell (Warriors), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Rilee Rossouw (Knights), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras).

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