Proteas door not shut on evergreen Steyn and Tahir, says Smith

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Dale Steyn during the Lanka Premier League (LPL)
Dale Steyn during the Lanka Premier League (LPL)
  • The Proteas won't ignore the claims of veterans such as Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir for selection in the ICC World T20, which takes place later this year.
  • The duo, along with Chris Morris, are currently out-of-favour, but still available and primed for game time in respective leagues.
  • Graeme Smith, national director of cricket, though reiterated that any thoughts on selecting them would be performance-based.

The door has not been shut on the claims of men like Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir and Chris Morris for Proteas selection for the ICC World T20 later this year.

Graeme Smith, Cricket South Africa's director of cricket, gave that assurance ahead of the domestic T20 Challenge - which commences on Friday - despite Morris being the only one of the trio to feature.

The lanky all-rounder has joined the Titans for the duration of the competition.

Steyn and Tahir won't be twiddling their thumbs though as both veterans have landed gigs in the upcoming Pakistan Super League with Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans respectively.

"As far as I know, they're available to be selected," said Smith.

"We would definitely want to see them playing more. They'd have to put themselves in the frame through performances in leagues, be it overseas or in our own domestic one. 

"I know that Chris is turning out for the Titans, which is positive."

However, the Proteas' selection patterns over the past year or so have suggested that older if pedigreed players aren't quite being prioritised unless they're still considered key to the team.

A good example would be the difference between a Faf du Plessis and Tahir.

The former was in fine form during last year's T20 series at home against England and it's still debatable whether any other batsman has truly established himself as a viable alternative to date.

In contrast, Tabraiz Shamsi, who was South Africa's standout performer against Pakistan, has established himself as arguably one of the team's most valuable assets and positioned himself as a worthy "successor" to the 41-year-old Tahir.

Mark Boucher, national coach, also recently noted that the left-arm tweaker could be considered the Proteas' first-choice spinner in white-ball cricket.

Nonetheless, with the team desperate to put years of underperformance at showpiece tournaments behind them, the national selectors will have to keep an open mind.

"It would all be performance-based," said Smith.

"Our goal is obviously to put out the best World T20 squad that we can, but we can only judge that on the performances people are putting in, not on, I guess, past performances.

"The guys need to get playing and they need to play well to be considered."  

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