Selectors gamble on De Kock

(File, AFP)
(File, AFP)

Johannesburg - Rilee Rossouw and Wayne Parnell were notable inclusions in the 15-man South African World Cup squad announced in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Rossouw should provide cover opening the batting in the first two games for Quinton de Kock, who is still recovering from an ankle injury.

The left-handed Rossouw has already played nine ODIs for the Proteas, batting at number four on five occasions, number three twice, once at seven and as an opener.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo, however, was optimistic De Kock could be ready earlier than anticipated and feature in their opening game against Zimbabwe on 15 February.

"It looks like Quinton is going to be okay, hopefully in three or four weeks time he'll start hitting some balls and be fit to play that first game against Zimbabwe," Domingo said on Wednesday during the squad announcement.

Could be used as pinch-hitter

Parnell was included in the squad at the expense of Ryan McLaren in the allrounder role.

The 25-year-old is the only left-handed quick bowler in the squad which will add variety to the South African pace attack.

Parnell has played 43 ODIs taking 59 wickets at an average of 30.20 and with the bat, he averages 22.93 mostly batting down the order, but he could also be used up the order as a pinch-hitter.

He has a highest score in domestic 50-over cricket of 129 opening the batting for the Warriors.

Titans batsman Farhaan Behardien also made it into the final squad after he failed to set the stage alight during his 16 ODI appearances, with a batting average of 22.23.

The selectors, however, persisted with the 31-year-old and he turned out in all five ODIs against hosts Australia in November.

With the Proteas going down 4-1 in the series, and his place in the team under scrutiny, Behardien made 63 from 41 balls in the final match of the series to throw his name back into the hat.

He has also had some success with the ball, picking up eight wickets, at an average of 30, for the Proteas.

In the spin department, Aaron Phangiso will provide cover for Imran Tahir.

Phangiso has 12 ODIs behind his name with a best of 3/43 against Zimbabwe in August last year.

South Africa are in group B with Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.

South Africa squad: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw and Dale Steyn.

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