No place for Tahir in SA

Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)
Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Imran Tahir was dropped from the Proteas Test squad to face Australia in a three-match series starting on February 12 in Centurion.

Cricket South Africa convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson said Robin Peterson would fill the specialist spinner position, following a good performance against India in December.

"We just went with Robbie P (Robin Peterson), as he put in one or two good performances for us," said Hudson at the South Africa squad announcement here at the Wanderers on Wednesday.

"We felt Robbie P would be our spin option for the (upcoming) series." Hudson said Tahir could still play a role on slower pitches outside South Africa in future.

"We haven't discounted Imran as an attacking leg-spinner who will offer a lot on pitches in the sub-continent."

After a four year absence from the Test team, left-arm seamer and lower order batsman Wayne Parnell, was also included in the squad.

"If you look at his stats over the last four years he's done really well for the Warriors," said Proteas coach Russell Domingo.

"He's improved his consistency in four day cricket considerably.

"The big plus factor for me is that he's a guy that can bowl 140 (km/h) and he's a left-armer. We haven't had a left-armer playing Test cricket for us for a long time. He's also more than capable with the bat so he's a good all-round package."

In the first Test without Jacques Kallis following his retirement from the format, no clear replacement was named in the all-rounder role, although Ryan McLaren also cracked the nod.

Faf du Plessis was said to be the player to fill the number four batting slot in the lineup.

"Faf is the guy we've earmarked to bat number four," Domingo added.

"I see him as a suitable replacement for the number four batting role."

JP Duminy could also help out in the spin department with his off-spinners, but Domingo said it was not expected of the player.

"South Africa for spinners is a very difficult place to bowl.

"Fast bowlers dominate in South African conditions. If we're expecting JP to pick up five or six wickets per innings it will be a tough ask.

"His main task will be to get runs. An added bonus is that he can bowl some off-spin for us. He's a long way off being a frontline bowler for us."

Though not included in the squad, Beuran Hendricks and Simon Harmer would join the Proteas before the first Test to help with preparations.

Proteas Test squad:

Graeme Smith (Cape Cobras, captain), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), AB de Villiers (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Knights), Rory Kleinveldt (Cape Cobras), Ryan McLaren (Knights), Morné Morkel (Titans), Wayne Parnell (Warriors), Alviro Petersen (Highveld Lions), Robin Peterson (Cape Cobras), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Dale Steyn (Cape Cobras), Thami Tsolekile (Highveld Lions).

Australia tour fixtures:

5-8 February: Australia v SA Invitation XI, Senwes Park, Potchefstroom

12-16 February: 1st Test match, SuperSport Park, Centurion
20-24 February: 2nd Test match, St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
1-5 March: 3rd Test match, Newlands, Cape Town

9 March: 1st T20 International, St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth (Day)
12 March: 2nd T20 International, Kingsmead, Durban (Day/Night)
14 March: 3rd T20 International, SuperSport Park, Centurion (Day/Night)

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