Axe falls on struggling Proteas duo

2009-03-10 00:00

THE South African selectors have reacted swiftly to yesterday’s series loss to Australia by omitting two players from the squad for next week’s Test in Cape Town.

Neil McKenzie, who may have played his last Test for the Proteas, and the erratic Morne Morkel have been dumped in the aftermath of the 175-run loss at Kingsmead.

“We feel that the best thing for Morne is to go back to the Titans and play some domestic cricket,” selection convenor Mike Procter said.

McKenzie, a makeshift opener, has continually struggled this summer and his place has been taken by Dolphins left-hander Imran Khan.

Khan, the leading run-scorer in the SuperSport Series, has been rewarded for his most consistent season thus far.

“It’s very exciting and I hope to make the most of my opportunity,” Khan said.

Having made a quick-fire century against the Aussies in their tour opener three weeks ago, Khan was under no illusions that the intensity will be cranked up at Newlands.

It was nice to get a ton, but they were still dusting off the cobwebs at that stage,” he said.

Wayne Parnell is the other addition in the Test squad, while Ashwell Prince will assume both of Graeme Smith’s roles as skipper and opener.

In further news, Procter also announced the squad for the Twenty20 internationals to follow the Test series.

Yusuf Abdullah, of the Dolphins, and Roelof van der Merwe, from the Titans, are the latest new caps to be added as the selectors seek the right combination ahead of July’s T20 World Cup.

“We have rewarded players who have done well in the domestic competition, and they will all get a game in one of the matches at least,” Procter added.

South Africa Test squad: Ashwell Prince (capt), Imraan Khan, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher (wk), Paul Harris, Albie Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell.

Pro20 squad: Johan Botha (c), Yusuf Abdullah, Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Johann Louw, Albie Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

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