New men knocking on Proteas door

2014-08-21 00:00

THE Proteas, cruising along merrily in Zimbabwe, have the luxury of resting Test captain and opening batsman Hashim Amla for today’s third and final ODI in Bulawayo.

Amla will return briefly to South Africa to be with his sick son, but he will be back in Zimbabwe for the start of a triangular series including Australia on August 27.

“He [Amla] has played a lot of cricket and scored a lot of runs,” Proteas captain AB de Villiers said after Tuesday’s 61-run victory. “It’s just time for him maybe to take a game off and it’s a good opportunity to get him back for the triangular series nice and fresh.”

Rilee Rossouw is the logical replacement for Amla today, but De Villiers all but confirmed that the other players yet to get a game on tour — Marchant de Lange and Mthokozisi Shezi — are likely to feature.

The possibility of Shezi and Kyle Abbott both playing is a tantalising prospect for the Dolphins, who have struggled to get players on the international stage in recent years.

But that is an unlikely scenario as Abbott would surely make way, possibly with Wayne Parnell, if Shezi and De Lange are to be accommodated.

“It’ll be exciting to get all three [Rossouw, De Lange and Shezi] of them on there,” said De Villiers. “We haven’t discussed it yet but that’s the thinking.

“They’re all in form. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t,” added the captain. “I’ll try and free them up as much as possible to show what they can do. It is important for us to get all the new players to buy into the plans and play a good game of cricket.”

The Proteas won the first two ODIs handsomely, meaning that the series is already wrapped up and today provides an ideal opportunity to blood new talent.

Not that his form is in doubt, but today is also an opportunity for De Villiers to get back amongst the runs after having amassed just 22 in his two knocks of the series so far. The 30-year-old was run out for just one in bizarre fashion on Tuesday when, after playing and missing, he thought the ball had squeezed past wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami before setting off for a run.

“It was an awkward one for me,” said De Villiers with a smile on his face. “I don’t know what happened. Something obviously triggered me to run. When Faf [du Plessis] shouted at me I could hear a bit of anxiety in his voice and I realised ‘there’s trouble here’. The rest is all a blur.”

Today’s match starts at 9.30 am and will be televised on SuperSport Two.

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